• Friday, October 07, 2022

Interview with Mr Pranav Gupta, Project Leader, India Book Market Report & Joint-Secretary, Federation of Indian Publishers


on Sep 09, 2022
Pranav gupta

In his professional standing of 16 years, Pranav Gupta has conquered the feats of establishing his name in the Indian publishing sphere as the Managing Director of Prints Publications Private Limited. His drive for entrepreneurial success stems from the inter-generational legacy that precedes him and has helped him spearhead pioneering initiatives on the global front. Presently, with a fervor for taking the Indian publication to new heights, he is serving as the elected Secretary-General for IRRO and the Joint Secretary for The Federation of Indian Publishers.

Through his tireless pursuit of expanding the digital footprint of these organizations, a wave of novel and unique events has curated an underlying current of networking opportunities by promoting individual businesses. To add to his kitty of accolades, Pranav also holds the position of being an elected Executive Committee Member of the International Publishers Association (IPA). He takes pride in being one of the few publishers who harnessed the potential of digitization and technology and built various brands around it, from stem to stern. Prints Publications, Buy Books India, Advit Toys, OMLogic, Frontlist Media, PragatiE, and Solh Wellness, are the companies he represents. His well-rounded industry exposure and experience have led to Pranav being a frequent speaker at national and international events. In addition, his essays have appeared in various newspapers, journals, and publications.

Frontlist: FIP has collaborated with Nielsen BookScan Data to launch Indian Book Market Report 2022. How will this report be a boon to the publishing industry, and why is this very significant to us? 

Pranav: FIP’s role remains crucial as we are the representatives of the Indian Publishing Industry and, therefore, act for the large set of publishing companies in the country. Recognition by the International Publishers Association adds a feather to our hat; thus, associating with FIP was imperative for Nielsen BookScan Data. This collaboration is certainly a boon for both parties. In the future, more studies will be essential where we can have Nielsen BookData as a chief associate for the Federation of Indian Publishers.

Indian Book Market Report 2022 should not be seen as theoretical but rather a more practical one, where we have underlined the various issues and challenges experienced by the industry itself. It also covers the policy support that the industry requires from the Indian government, such as support for GST, custom imports, or any copyright concerns. Owing to the evolving Publishing Industry, we needed reliable data to showcase what we can expect regarding market size and growth in the future.

Frontlist: How has the Indian publishing industry changed from 2015 to date?

Pranav: I would say “wait and watch” the situation because once we release the report, then this data will emerge in the presentations by Nielsen BookData.

Frontlist: How important is the publishing industry in the education sphere? 

Pranav: A thriving educational publishing business is a critical component of a robust, knowledge-driven society in any modern democracy of the contemporary world.

The reason is that wherever you look, publishers have been entrusted with the crucial responsibility of creating the resources that teachers need to conduct high-quality instructions in any academic setup. Furthermore, the quality of the material produced helps us boost learning integrity in the school environment.

Curriculum reform requires well-crafted, up-to-date resources created by content producers with longstanding experience and exposure to curriculum planning and robust teaching and learning dialogues. Academic publishing houses in India have worked hard to make these resources available and ensure they are of the highest quality for decades.

Frontlist: Have you included the statistics from the COVID-19 period in the report?

Pranav: We have included market sizing, data modeling, the post-COVID recovery years, and the projection. We will primarily list down the COVID effect and the growth rate once we fully recover from the covid impact. Hence, these details will be a part of the report.

Frontlist: In your opinion, has the self-publishing industry become a threat to well-established publishers due to its exponential growth in recent years? 

Pranav: Well, I believe self-publishing doesn't threaten well-established publishers. The scope of self-publishing is narrow and operates within limited genres. Today anyone can publish their books free of charge, and it has opened doors to small writers with a meager budget; still, Vanity Publishers has its presence in the market that no one can overpower. 

Every book can't be self-published. Book publishing sifts through a rigorous process as an author shares the raw script, and a publisher gives a final touch with branding. I stand in solidarity with self-publisher as our society is evolving, and so are people. 

If someone wants to break into the publishing industry, self-publishing is an apt choice.

Frontlist: If we reckon the international markets, where does the Indian publishing industry stand across the globe?

Pranav: The 2020 data includes only print, excluding any other format, because the report is primarily based on the print book market, and I understand that "digital" is creating momentum, and it's essential, but not in this report. I believe the physical facts and figures, but it's a print book. Specifically, we have collated data regarding the Market Size. Therefore, we have only done print books to compare the global market. If we ever receive any data, we will certainly include it in the future. Right now, Indian Book Publishing is the 5th largest market worldwide and the 2nd largest for English book publishing.

Frontlist: On August 15th, the Prime Minister added a new line to the slogan "Jai Anusandhan (Innovation)." How will the publishing industry be able to support this?

Pranav: If you look at innovation, the publishing world also represents innovation. The number of books accessible to readers, whether informative or entertaining, is an enjoyable product in terms of content. The content is being used innovatively in books, OTT platforms, or for many other reasons.

Our industry is sheerly associated with a thought process of innovation, and I believe there is no industry doing it the way we provide content-driven products to society. Therefore, we as an industry align with this splendid thought shared by our Hon'ble Prime Minister and fully support it.

Frontlist: What can we foresee regarding market expansion, the number of books published, and revenue generation in the next five years?

Pranav: We will have to wait for the forecast because the numbers are still underway and will be decided soon. Then we can certainly answer this. However, the Indian publishing industry is currently ranked as the fifth largest worldwide and the second largest in English language books.

I am thrilled to share that the industry is worth Rs. 73,900 crores, or USD 9.5 billion, and is burgeoning. We expect to cross Rs. 1,00,000 crores by 2024/25. This success story follows that more than 24,000 publishers brought out 1,46,000 books in 2021 in English and various Indian languages. Hence in the next five or even ten years, we foresee exponential growth in the Indian Publishing Industry.

Frontlist: What would be the price of the report for consumers? Are there any early-bird offers as well?

Pranav: The price of the report is Rs. 33,000/- for the FIP members, Rs. 50,000/- for the publishers (Non-FIP members), and Rs. 75,000/- for others.

Frontlist: How can the developing Indian Economy bring change in the Publishing world in retrospect of the past 75 years? Shall we hope to see Indian publishers rank in the top 25 list in the next 25 Years?

Pranav: If it does not happen by the time we reach 100 years of our industry, we should collectively zip ourselves. Because then, it will be not only our fault but the fault of the whole nation and the industry. There was a time when you could not imagine Indian manufacturers being in the top 10 in motorcycles and cars, but now they are. Similarly, Indian banks could not imagine being in the top 20. But now they are there since our economy is accelerating rapidly. Indian banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India have done an outstanding job. Still, it is challenging for a publisher from Nepal, Pakistan, or Bangladesh to be in the top 10 because their primary market size is scanty.

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