Ummid Assistant

Jamia Millia launches courses on China, Afghanistan

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Views & Analysis

2012 will be game changer for Indian publishing

Friday December 23, 2011 07:17:50 PM, Shobit Arya, IANS

Technology is like an object in your rear-view mirror. It is always closer than you think it is. In fact, for us in Indian publishing, it may actually just be ready to jump out of the mirror.

Let me first put this in perspective. Last year around the same time, I was asked by a business magazine to comment on the Indian publishing trends for 2011. I had said then that lack of efficiency in chain stores is bound to diminish gains in medium to long term. The sentiment was not without basis. Over the last year itself, we have seen three of the five biggies getting into extremely choppy waters. Most of them seem to have been caught in the trap of going after margins on paper, running the show mostly from an accountant's perspective.

Books, interestingly, are not like any other FMCG commodity, where data mining could be singularly relied on. This, coupled with the blind race of scaling up, can be a sure recipe for disaster. Hopefully, towards the latter part of 2012, some of these chain stores would have begun to find their feet again.

But during the initial phase of this churning, with most of these show-stoppers in bad shape, we are bound to see new independent stores coming up, though the ones to survive will be those which are completely passion-driven. They will need to remember that it was the romance of having a book shop which got them to begin one in the first place. As long as the fire keeps kindling in their heart, they are safe. Conventional book business in India has never been a money spinner, anyway.

The saving grace among chain stores has been Reliance Time Out, who with their prudent use of technology and a responsive and engaged team led by Deepinder Kampany, Tarun Singh and Jacob Johnson, seem to have got their act together. The rapid expansion bug seems to have caught them too though, which by its very nature is high risk-prone. Fingers need to be crossed on that.

In 2012, as we saw in 2011, fiction's percentage in the overall book sales will continue to increase in conjunction with the rise of paisa-wasool literature. We have seen the Rs.100 chick lit novels (inflation has ensured a price band of Rs.100-150) mushroom and almost every 20-year-old Indian is an aspiring writer today. This will continue in 2012 with smaller towns increasingly shaping the trend, thereby keeping the non-mainstream book wholesalers in business. The beautifully complex dynamics of Indian society ensures that what is looked down upon by one may be aspirational for the other.

This brings me to the other trend which I bet on - consolidation of book e-commerce. The phenomenon continues and we will see a rapid maturing of this zone - a few managing to scale up and most of the others who have just joined the bandwagon without appropriate long-term plans and awareness of the challenges of book e-commerce getting weeded out.

The open secret is that Amazon India is slated to begin operations in 2012 and you can be certain it will change the way books are bought, sold and read in India. But the one with the real ace up its sleeve seems to be Flipkart. They have understood the dynamics of Indian publishing and logistics like nobody else and have the crucial first-mover advantage. It is imperative that they will bring in their own intelligent e-book reader in 2012. Between Amazon and Flipkart, they will definitely negotiate territorial e-book rights with differential pricing with the major international players.

For an Indian reader, it means that an e-book in India will be cheaper than the e-book, say, in the US or the UK, and also cheaper than its Indian printed edition. Indians are known to be among the most intelligent and money-conscious consumers who want to remain updated with new technology and it's anybody's guess how e-books may take off here over a period of time.

2012 may then well be the watershed year for books.

Though the lines between the delivery platforms will get increasingly blurred -- books, e-books, applications, films, television and games will witness an interplay never seen before that you can be sure two things will never go out of fashion - content and customers.


Shobit Arya is the founder and publisher of Wisdom Tree. He can be contacted at and






Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS



More Headlines

To those we said sayonara... RIP

Government has not 'shelved' FDI in retail: Pranab

Maths teacher's punishment sparks row in China

Slovakia launches website with e-books

Leh freezes at minus 18 - season's lowest

Not a poll stunt, Congress says about Minority quota

Pakistan rejects NATO airstrike probe report

NATO strike: US splits blame, but no apology to Pakistan

Objections raised over Hazare's fast at Azad Maidan

Students protests get intense at Agra University

Alert for women who had breast implants

Experts express concern over skewed sex ratio

Unaided private schools seek amendments in RTE

Residents drag wakf board to court over prayers

Superman of Malegaon gets Maharashtrian of the Year award

Cabinet approves minority quota

Was India A.Q. Khan's mysterious fourth customer?





Top Stories

Lokpal bill tabled with minority quota, BJP fumes

Amid stiff opposition, the government Thursday finally introduced in the Lok Sabha the much-debated Lokpal bill that envisages creation of anti-graft institutions at the central as well as state levels with a provision  

Salient features of Lokpal bill

Congress core group discusses minority quota in Lokpal


  Most Read

NATO strike: US splits blame, but no apology to Pakistan

Washington has refused to apologise for last month's NATO strike that plunged US-Pakistani relations to a new   

Pakistan rejects NATO airstrike probe report

Cabinet approves minority quota

The cabinet Thursday approved 4.5 percent quota for minorities within the larger 27 percent quota for the Other backward Classes (OBC) in central government jobs and educational institutions, informed sources said. The cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cleared the proposal ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh  

Not a poll stunt, Congress says about Minority quota


  News Pick

Was India A.Q. Khan's mysterious fourth customer?

A US arms control expert has made the astonishing claim that India may have been the mysterious fourth customer of Pakistan's notorious nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, dubbed father of   

Residents drag wakf board to court over prayers

Residents of south Delhi's Jangpura area Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the Delhi Wakf Board and a charitable society failed to comply with the court's earlier order which allowed only 10 devotees to offer prayer at the  

How right is the Right to Education Act

Ever since the introduction of the Right of children to free and compulsory Education 

RTE is not a panacea, say experts


Picture of the Day

Shaikh Nasir (extreme left) with Bollywood star Amitabh Bacchan after receiving the Lokmat Maharashtrian of The Year award December 21, 2011.



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes










Contact us





    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.