18 June 2008

Some latest info from NBTI

Obtaining data on the Indian book publishing industry is not only difficult, it can also be misleading… with various publishers quoting various figures. However, I’m guessing, data published by the National Book Trust, India can be trusted. So, I’m sharing something I found on their website, released in February this year during the 18th New Delhi World Book Fair 2008.

Here’s a quote from National Book Trust, India’s website:

“Publishing scenario in contemporary India is a conceptually exciting, linguistically rich and quantitatively diverse phenomenon. India is perhaps the only country in the world, which publishes books in more than 24 languages. There are nearly 16,000 publishers producing not less than 80,000 titles in all major Indian languages including English with an annual turnover of Rs.100,000 million. Of these, almost forty per cent titles are published in English language alone. As a result, India ranks third in the publication of English books immediately after the USA and the UK.”

This should put a lot of questions to rest.

Please note that the NBTI figure of Rs.100,000 million (i.e. Rs.10,000 crores) as annual turnover of the book publishing industry is far higher – and more promising – than the ‘Rs.3,500 crores to Rs.7,000 crores’ figure I had presented in my previous post. I stand corrected. However, I wonder if more titles are published in English than in Hindi, as NBTI claims.

[Citation: National Book Trust, India website.]


Madhuri said...

That is an encouraging stats for sure. I think in recent years the Hindi publications may have gone down significantly as it becomes increasingly difficult to find Hindi books.

runawaysun said...

That's right, more and more books in English are published in India these days. According to The Federation of Indian Publishers 2004 report, the English book publishing industry has grown by 50% over 1997.

On one hand, this is encouraging for many of us. But it also means that the regional/vernacular language publishing industry is taking a beating. That can't be good news for India's vernacular world. After all, most of India can't read/speak English.

Since India is rich in her own literature, I see a great opportunity in translated works.

Satya said...

The growth of English publishing doesn't mean that regional/vernacular book publishing in India is taking a beating! Regional language book publishing is experiencing rapid growth as well.

Our own experience with New Horizon Media, set up in 2004 to publish across all the major Indian languages has been extremely encouraging. We have published over 700 new titles over the past four years and have become the leading Tamil publisher today. We have now begun publishing in Malayalam too and plan to expand into the other Indian languages over the coming years. DC Books (Malayalam publishing) and Ananda Publishers (Bengali publishing) and a host of other leading Hindi publishers like Rajkamal Prakashan, Vani Prakashan, Rajpal Prakashan, Prabhat Prakashan and others are doing well too.

Your point about the opportunity for translations of the best of Indian language literature is spot on. We started INDIAN WRITING, an imprint in English in 2007 and have published over 25 titles which are English translations of literary works by award-winning Indian language writers.

runawaysun said...

@ Satya
Once again, thanks for such an informative comment.
Without specific data with me, I had a hunch that regional language publishing was falling behind. At least, that’s what a few regional language writers had cautioned me on. So, it’s heartening to learn that New Horizon Media, along with others, are keeping the regional language publishing on a winning path.
Would like to know more about New Horizon Media and Indian Writing. Thanks for sending me those links.