• Thursday, July 18, 2024

Interview with Dr. Ashok Gupta, Hon. General Secretary of the Federation of Indian Publishers

Read the full interview with Dr. Ashok Gupta discusses the PragatiE Vichaar Literature Festival, organized by Frontlist and Fip, and also the nuances of the Publishing Industry
on Dec 02, 2021
Dr. Ashok Gupta

Interview with Dr. Ashok Gupta, Hon. General Secretary of  The Federation of Indian Publishers. He discusses the PragatiE Vichaar Literature Festival, organized by Frontlist and Fip, and also the nuances of the Publishing Industry. 


Ques. FIP has joined as a knowledge partner in PVLF. What do you look at as the role of PVLF?

Dr. Ashok Gupta: FIP as the professional trade body of the publishing industry, always supports all initiatives that help in promoting authorship and readership. When the PragatiE team approached us with the PVLF proposal, we were quite enthusiastic as this was going to be another event for the overall growth of the industry. As we have worked with them previously for two editions of Virtual Delhi Book Fairs to our satisfaction, we knew they are a capable team, and they would be able to achieve all their objectives in their first attempt and will further broaden the scale in times to come.


Ques: You have seen 2 PVLF events as part of your virtual Delhi Book Fairs. What has been your experience?

Dr. Ashok Gupta: Very good, indeed. Particularly the second event was much much more than our expectations.


Ques. How important is it to establish the author and Publisher relationship for the Publishing Industry? Your thought on what should be done in this direction.

Dr. Ashok Gupta: After independence in the last 75 years the publishing industry has grown many many folds and it is all because of the growing Indian authorship which clearly shows that it has immense faith and trust in Indian publishers and their capabilities. Currently, the industry is going through a disruptive phase because of new technologies which have made photocopying and digital scanning of published works rampant all over India without any permissions or compensation to the Copyright owners, thereby impacting the very survival of the Industry.

On behalf of the industry I will urge the Indian authors to come forward and raise their voice in the media and the Govt. (a) against this illegal practice that is going on with impunity and (b) to create awareness and respect for Copyrights among the younger generation.

Ques. What do you think of both editions of the virtual Delhi Book Fair (2020 and 2021)? What will be the future role of virtual book fairs?

Dr. Ashok Gupta: The two editions of the virtual Delhi book fair have given us some new inputs and new ideas. We are deliberating upon them. Its national and international reach, low cost, and 24 hours showcase are really interesting features. Every publisher has to see how to utilize these opportunities to its benefit. We, at the FIP, have to think about how to maintain and further develop its unique differentiating features from mainstream physical book fairs. One of the suggestions has been to create its identity around new titles launched during the year and the second one is to develop it into a Rights fair to develop Indian authors and promote translations within Indian languages. I am quite positive about virtual events because of their scope and scale.


Ques. Will PVLF Be able to achieve its objective to promote authors from different streams? Share your thoughts.

Dr. Ashok Gupta: The aim should be to attract quality authors from different streams and languages, and provide them a global platform. The Jury should be competent and have a free hand so as to have a genuine and honest evaluation and assessment mechanism in place. Over the years the authors, publishers, and the general public should eagerly lookout for this event. If possible, various print media groups from Indian languages may also be roped in as co-organizers or sponsors to attract language authors and improve the reach.


Ques. How do you expect FIP contribute to PragatiE Vichaar Literature Festival?

Dr. Ashok Gupta: Except for financial support we are with them with all our industry knowledge, contacts, and market understanding. It is they who have to see how best they can use our mutual understanding.


Ques: New Delhi World Book Fair is scheduled to be a physical event in
January? What are your thoughts from a publishing industry perspective?
For exhibitors, audience, organizers.

Dr. Ashok Gupta: The organizers, NBT, and the fair site owners, ITPO are two different agencies under two different ministries. Their mandates are different. ITPO works like a commercial organization and thus always has a profit motive. For them, every event should generate some profits. Instead of running the show efficiently, they charge exorbitant rentals which the industry is unable to afford. ITPO controls the best, biggest, and centrally located exhibition ground in Delhi which no other agency can offer. It is for all practical purposes a monopolistic situation for ITPO and that is why they exploit it to their advantage. ITPO should treat book fairs as their corporate and social responsibility.


For the audience, the construction is still going on in Pragati Maidan, so the reach to the halls could be quite a tortuous, dusty and cumbersome affair. 


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