Publishing Posts

On content in publishing, March 2013

On content in publishing, March 2013

Last week my BusinessWorld column focussed on the importance of content. (http://www.jayabhattacharjirose.com/jaya/2013/03/26/the-economics-of-electronic-content-if-the-e-content-falters-or-is-under-par-it-will-not-translate-into-a-sustainable-business-model/) It discussed how education publishers are growing. Trade publishers too want a slice of this pie and are busy reinventing themselves and introducing new verticals that focus on education publishing.

Since then there are three interesting pieces of news that I have come across:

16 March 2013 “..the global book conglomerate Random House is now hiring mostly statisticians and mathematicians in the United States, because CEO Markus Dohle has dubbed Random House a “data driven company”. ( “An Amazon problem: the book is dead, long live the book. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/amazon-problem-book-dead-long-live-book/story?id=18737681#.UVMv2Bxgcsw )

26 March 2013 The Bookseller ( http://www.thebookseller.com/news/bertelsmann-develop-education-business.html) announced that Bertelsmann is to develop education business with the long-term potential to generate €1bn in sales, it was revealed at the company’s annual results conference in Berlin this morning (26th March).

Meanwhile Random House chairman and chief executive officer Markus Dohle spoke of “possible further portfolios” in Latin America following its outright acquisition of Spanish-language publisher Random House Mondadori.
Last year Bertelsmann invested in the University Ventures Fund, which partners with entrepreneurs and institutions to establish “transformative” companies in post-secondary education. Today the German media group said it was pursuing a “comparable model” in education.

Thomas Hesse, executive board member for corporate development and new businesses, said the education sector offered considerable growth potential in China, India and Brazil, and a new business division would be created for Bertelsmann’s education activities. The education division would grow through “incubation, start-ups and gradual development over the years”, he said.

The news came as Bertelsmann reiterated a company strategy oriented towards growth, and digital and international initiatives, with chairman and c.e.o. Thomas Rabe saying it was Bertelsmann’s objective to increase sales share in the US, China, India and Brazil.

At the conference, Dohle indicated that further publishing acquisitions could be on the cards as the company looked to growth in emerging markets. The acquisition of the remaining 50% of Random House Mondadori last November “makes it possible to generate more growth in Latin America, organically and with possible further portfolios”, he said.

AND

27 March 2013 HMH Appoints First-Ever Chief Content Officer (DBW) http://click.digitalbookworld-hub.com/?qs=eb4fce5f18a52c20103018f3ccfe67589e9bff1bcbf4bf04a4debf9366e867ce
Mary Cullinane is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s first-ever chief content officer. She was formerly the head of innovation for Microsoft Education. She will lead the company’s content production and innovation efforts. Previously, she had been executive vice president of corporate affairs at the company.

Publishing and Indian cinema, Asian Age, 9 Sept 2012

Publishing and Indian cinema, Asian Age, 9 Sept 2012

An article published in Asian Age , 9 Sept 2012

Bookmark Bollywood
September 9, 2012 By Jaya Bhattacharji Rose
Tags: Bollywood publications

Over the years fascinating behind-the-scenes documentaries about cinema have been made yet little literature has been published. Even veterans like Oscar-winner costume designer Bhanu Athaiya and choreographer Shiamak Davar have focused on their professions; only recently have they opted to write biographies. Or Kareena Kapoor’s forthcoming style diary of a “Bollywood diva” where she will give a peek into her life and reveal her beauty secrets. By comparison a relatively new entrant to films award-winning actress Tisca Chopra has taken the plunge to write a book that aims to demystify Bollywood from the perspective of an actor/model — with its many stories, anecdotes and first-hand experiences. All of which begs to ask the question — why are so many books being published on Indian cinema now?

Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra, India’s first full-length film, was released in May 1913, so 2012 is being celebrated as Indian cinema’s centenary. In fact the theme for the World Book Fair, Feb 2012 organised by National Book Trust was Indian Cinema.

Udayan Mitra, Publisher, Allen Lane, Penguin Books India says, “There is more interest now than ever before in reading about the world of cinema — the making of films, celebrity lives, the reception of movies. This indicates a readership that is more clued in than ever, and curious about cultural productions.”

This statement is corroborated by Jerry Pinto, author of Helen, the life and times of an H-Bomb, “There is a new interest in Bollywood because we are now a nation that can be confident of our own cultural products. It takes self-confidence to be able to declare oneself for kitsch. To say that one appreciates kitsch, one must believe that others see us as having good taste and so we are capable of appreciating that which lacks good taste but with such bravura that it attains to the status of kitsch. This is what is happening to Bollywood right now; you can see it in films like Om Shanti Om, Action Replayy, Luck by Chance. And this has translated into an awareness of the possibilities of publishing.”

Some of the forthcoming books focused upon the industry are HarperCollins’ list of film monologues. It consists of commentaries, analysis, reading of the film subtext and the making of the film. Forthcoming are Amar Akbar Anthony by Sidharth Bhatia, Pakeezah by Meghnad Desai, Mughal-e-Azam by Anil Zankar, and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak by Gautam Chintamani. Other titles are a biography of S.D. Burman by Sathya Saran and of Sahir Ludhianvi by Akshay Manwani, plus A Southern View: Cinema of the South edited by M.K. Raghavendra.

According to Pradipta Sarkar, Commissioning Editor, Rupa, “Cashing in upon the success of superstar Rajinikanth’s 2010 film Enthiran/Robot that broke box-office records of all kinds and all notions of regional/ linguistic barriers led us to publish this year Rajini’s Punchtantra: Business and Life Management the Rajinikanth Way by P.C. Balasubramanian and Raja Krishnamoorthy — a unique self-help book and management guide that uses the superstar’s legendary punchlines as mantras for work as well as life.”

Penguin Books India is slated to publish the definitive biography of Rajinikanth by Naman Ramachandran; Conversations with Mani Ratnam by Baradwaj Rangan; Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Puokootty’s autobiography Sounding Off and a cinema diary for the year 2013 called A Sideways Glance at Hindi Cinema by Nasreen Munni Kabir.

Neeta Gupta, Publisher, Yatra Books, who recently announced a co-publishing agreement with Westland Books says, “I think Bollywood has been ignored for the longest time — and we as publishers are now in the process of addressing this lacuna. I found that there is a huge demand for books on musicians, lyricists and singers. We are now working on a biography of Mohammad Rafi (My Abba — A Memoir by Yasmin Khalid Rafi).”

Om Books has published film journalist Anna M.M. Vetticad’s Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic, a humorous look at the dynamics that drives the essential and fringe Bollywood; to be followed by Housefull: The Golden Age of Hindi Cinema edited by Ziya Us Salam on cinema of the Fifties and the Sixties; Shammi Kapoor: The Untold Tale by Rauf Ahmed; and Anupama Chopra and Tula Goenka’s books on interactions with Indian directors, actors, with analytical pieces as well.

It is probably a coincidence that in 2012 publishing houses are suddenly producing several fascinating books on the industry. In fact R.D. Burman: The Man, The Music by Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema, 2011.

For a while now there have been books on Indian cinema across genres — biographies, memoirs, screenplays and academic commentaries. For instance, Om Puri: Unlikely Hero (which caused a few ripples with its scandalous revelations); Shaukat Kaifi’s memoir Kaifi and I; Dadasaheb Phalke: The Father of Indian Cinema by Bapu Vatave; Guru Dutt, A Life in Cinema by Nasreen Munni Kabir. Publishers, authors and film journalists are of the opinion that the centenary celebrations gave a boost to the number of books being produced on Indian cinema. But the readership for this niche market has been growing steadily. A strong indicator of this has been the establishment by Om Book Shop of India’s first exclusive cinema book store at PVR Director’s Cut, Delhi. According to Dipa Chaudhuri, Managing Editor, Om Books, “The constituency of readers interested in cinema titles is definitely on the rise, a sign that cinema is here to stay on a publisher’s list.”

Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London feels that the centenary may be the immediate reason for a number of books appearing on Indian cinema but this has been increasing over the last decade. “I think publishing houses are looking for them because they sell well — or at least the biographies do — and also because I think they’re looking for a big book on Indian cinema — although no one seems to know what that would be.”

London-based documentary filmmaker and author of 12 books on Indian cinema, Nasreen Munni Kabir sums it up well when she tracks the recent history of publications on Indian cinema. She recounts, “When I first wrote a book on Guru Dutt in 1996, there were very few books in English on popular cinema, and this situation was largely unchanged till the early 2000s. I think the middle classes’ revived interest in Hindi cinema really took off by the mid-90s, perhaps with the popularity of the Khans, the middle-class youth found Hindi film ‘cool’. And it is most likely that this section of the audience would be the ones buying and reading English language books, so it was natural that a spate of publications on the subject would follow. Universities all around the world, including in India, also started courses on Indian film, so the demand for publications of film books grew. Today film celebrities wield a tremendous power, so learning more about stars and films has intensified.”

The writer is an international publishing consultant and columnist

My webinar with the Canadian publishers on Indian Publishing Industry, 25 Sept 2012

My webinar with the Canadian publishers on Indian Publishing Industry, 25 Sept 2012

 

Exporting to India for Canadian Publishers

Join independent international publishing consultant and columnist Jaya Bhattacharji Rose live from New Delhi for this two-hour webinar.
September 25, 2012, noon to 2:00 pm ET

The Indian publishing market is one of the most vibrant in the world with more than 16,000 publishers publishing 90,000 titles annually in 24 languages. India is the third largest publisher of English language Books after the US and UK.

With a population of 550 million below the age of 30 and a burgeoning middle class, book sales in India are expected to skyrocket. There has been an astounding increase in titles originating India, in addition to large-scale investments in retail and marketing and increasing standards of book production.

Publishing is gradually coming into the mainstream of India’s trade and commerce. As the Indian economy integrates with the world economy, more and more business activities are expected. Indian publishers are keen to explore new areas and many of them are regular participants in international book fairs.

Come away from this webinar with a better understanding of India’s opportunities as a potential export market for your books.

Join Jaya Bhatthacharji Rose for a two-hour webinar exploring the ins and outs of the Indian publishing market:

The state of publishing, reading and book buying in India
The Indian trade, children’s, and education markets for Canadian publishers
The fast-moving digital publishing market
And much more
This live webinar is 60 minutes followed by an interactive one-hour Q&A period.
Your host

Jaya Bhattacharji Rose is an independent international publishing consultant, columnist, and literary director with Siyahi, a literary agency, based in New Delhi. She has been associated with publishing since the early 1990s. Her responsibilities have included guest editing a special children’s and YA literature issue of The Book Review, and producing the first comprehensive report on the Indian book market for the Publishers Association UK. Her extensive editorial experience includes stints with Zubaan, Routledge, and Puffin. Her articles, interviews and book reviews have appeared in BookBrunch, Frontline, The Book Review, Daily News & Analysis (DNA), Outlook, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, LOGOS, Businessworld, Brunch, and The Muse. She also has a column on publishing in Businessworld online, the largest selling Indian business magazine, and a bi-monthly column in Books & More. More at www.facebook.com/jayabhattacharjirose.

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Register for this live two-hour webinar by September 15, 2012.

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For more information contact Communications and Marketing Coordinator Nicolas Levesque by email ( nlevesque@livrescanadabooks.com ) or telephone at 613-562-2324, extension 228.

Your host
Jaya Bhatthacharji Rose

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