Higher regulatory input and private collaboration could propel the Indian publishing industry to mammoth new heights, with the potential to reach Rs. 800 billion in value by 2024 according to a new EY-Parthenon study.
Researchers from EY-Parthenon – the strategy consulting wing of professional services giant EY – worked with the Association of Publishers in India (API) to put together an overview of the Indian publishing industry – a backbone of culture, recreation, and education that was valued at Rs. 500 billion as of 2019.
The core of Indian publishing comes from education. India’s K-12 education landscape currently counts 250 million students – topped off with over 35 million in higher education. With textbooks positioned as the primary source of knowledge across the board, this demand alone is enough to create billions in annual revenue.
Sustaining these volumes is no mean feat. Print remains the dominant form of publishing – and India is currently home to the world’s second-largest suite of publishing infrastructure according to the researchers, behind only China.
Monetary benefits aside, the sector has qualitative value for society and the economy too. The researchers found that access to published science and research increased the quality of education in India. Publishing also forms an outlet for multilingual and cultural works emerging from far corners of the country – helping to preserve and propagate social authenticity.
The sector has massive promise, but not all is smooth sailing. Per the report, piracy and copyright infringements remain a perennial barrier to the industry’s development. Then there are regulatory factors: state publishing houses dominate the market in India and often enjoy special protections – leaving little room for the private economy to thrive.
Targeted regulatory changes and concerted efforts from the industry could help overcome these challenges – as highlighted by API’s general secretary Subrahmanian Seshadri. “Encouraging the publishers’ involvement in policy-making reforms pertaining to the publishing industry and government’s intervention in overcoming regulatory challenges are expected to transform the present landscape,” he said.
Besides implementing immediate reforms, the government could also facilitate the growth of human capital in the long run. The publishing industry has a promising future in India,” he added.
The outlook is certainly sunny. In the backdrop, a rapidly expanding online consumer base in India is laying the foundation for a thriving digital publishing landscape – currently making up less than 10% of the whole industry. With this segment on the up, news revenue models are emerging by the day – spanning e-books, audiobooks, subscription models, bundles, open-access resources, and self-publishing.