• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Interview with Arup Bose, Publisher, Srishti Publishers & Distributors

Explore insights from Arup Bose of Srishti Publishers on literature, mental health, and navigating the evolving publishing landscape.
on Apr 18, 2024
Interview with Arup Bose, Publisher, Srishti Publishers & Distributors | Frontlist

Born and brought up in Delhi, Arup’s association with books and publishing has been since childhood. After working as a Risk Consultant and Mitigation expert for a leading Insurer, he decided to hang up his boots and enter the world of publishing. The shift was but a logical extension of his background of both love for books and association with the industry. An MBA by education, he currently looks after the day-to-day operations at Srishti while driving the growth by diversifying into new genres and entering unexplored markets.

Frontlist: As someone deeply immersed in the world of publishing, how do you believe events like World Book & Copyright Day contribute to raising awareness about the importance of literature and intellectual property rights?

Arup: The World Book & Copyright Day is a day to celebrate books and highlight the importance of IP rights. The day helps us to celebrate the author, the culture of reading, and sensitize the readers about what is copyright, the importance of copyright, and its impact on their favorite author.

India has a rich cultural legacy. On World Book Day, we celebrate our literary legacy. We honor books and celebrate authors. The spotlight, even if for a short period, rests firmly on authors. Not only does it help readers discover new authors, but it also helps create new readers.

We also take this opportunity to educate readers. A lot of readers in India unfortunately are not aware of what is copyright, the importance of IP rights, and piracy. They might be big fans of an author but they feel it is perfectly fine to read a PDF of the author’s new book. But when we educate them, their views change as they learn more.

World Book & Copyright Day is an important day for readers and authors both.

Frontlist: Mental health is a topic of increasing importance in today's fast-paced world. How do you prioritize mental well-being amidst your demanding schedule, and what advice do you have for others in the industry who may be struggling with stress and burnout?

Arup: For me, mental health is all about balance. It is important to maintain a balance between your personal and professional life. Modern-day lifestyle comes with its associated stress, which often leads to burnout.

The only way to manage it is to have clear boundaries in life. A schedule to help manage your lifestyle better. Taking time to do what you enjoy and taking short breaks in between work are two of my favorite hacks.

I ensure that each day I take time to go for a jog, read a book, and spend some time meditating. This is the trifecta which keeps me running.

Frontlist: Srishti Publishers has been diversifying into new genres and exploring unexplored markets. Could you share some insights into the strategies behind this expansion, and how do you ensure the quality and relevance of the content in diverse genres?

Arup: Srishti always has been at the forefront of exploring new genres and having a diverse range of reads in our catalog. We started our publishing journey 26 years ago by publishing books from great philosophers to translations from Indic languages to English and then, all the way to diverse non-fiction books. We were at the forefront of the commercial fiction wave with some of the biggest bestsellers in romance & thrillers and soon after diversified into narrative non-fiction books in genres as diverse as history, military, and true crimes.

We have always focused on quality and ensured we bring value to our readers. The value the reader derives is not just from the impeccable physical quality of the book but also the content. We are always ideating and working with authors to stay ahead of the curve and come up with new ideas and content formats as well.

Frontlist: In your opinion, how can society better support and promote the value of books and literature, especially in an era dominated by digital media and short attention spans? What role do initiatives like World Book and Copyright Day play in fostering a culture of reading and appreciation for written works?

Arup: India traditionally has a culture of reading and storytelling. We have always valued the role of books and that is reflected by the year-on-year growth of the industry. While digital media has become a competitor for younger readers' attention spans, books still hold a special place in the cultural milieu.

However, there can be more that can be done to foster a sense of reading. One of the best ways to do it is via planned and organized outreach to younger readers at the school level. This helps inculcate the habit of reading for the rest of their lives. If we can start celebrating World Book and Copyright Day across schools pan-India, I believe it will help a lot.

Frontlist: With the rise of digital publishing and e-books, how do you see the future of traditional publishing evolving? What steps is Srishti Publishers taking to adapt to these changes and stay competitive in the market?

Arup: I think digital publishing and eBooks are complementary to publishing. They have been around for a long time and almost all publishers have adapted to them by now. We were one of the first Indian publishers to get on board with global eBook platforms and today our books are available across the world via eBooks and digital publishing programs.

As I mentioned, we are always on the lookout for new trends and changes in the industry to stay ahead of the curve. To be honest, eBooks are now a matured market in India, and we are now exploring new digital mediums of publishing and content dissemination.

Frontlist: With World Book and Copyright Day approaching, what significance do you believe this day holds for authors, publishers, and readers alike? How does Srishti Publishers commemorate this day, and what initiatives do you undertake to raise awareness about the importance of books and copyright?

Arup: Days like the World Book & Copyright Day are important because they shed light on what is happening and what more needs to be done. Also, this way more people get to know about copyrights and why they are important. For example, at Srishti, we do an annual sensitization exercise to educate readers about the IP rights of authors. We also undertake educational initiatives for our readers, wherein we help them identify pirated books, report them, and tell them the value of supporting/buying original books by their favorite authors. This is mostly done via Social Media, mailers, and offline workshops. But yes, it starts the conversation and makes more people aware of the issues authors face.

Frontlist: What advice do you have for aspiring authors regarding protecting their intellectual property and navigating as World Book and Copyright Day is approaching?

Arup: An author should always retain their copyright even when they get published or are in the process of pitching their books. If you are cold emailing or sending unsolicited manuscripts, send your pitch and sample, but do not send the entire manuscript. If you are a published author, don’t send a PDF for review. Or, if you have to, get low-resolution, watermarked PDFs from the publishing house. It’s more about being mindful of what you are sharing in the public domain than anything else, really. They seem like simple things, but they are life-saving.

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