• Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Interview With Yogendra Gupta, Partner at MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company)


on Aug 06, 2022
Interview With Yogendra Gupta, Partner at MAHAVIR BOOKS

Yogendra Gupta is a third-generation entrepreneur at the helm of affairs at MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company). He has expertise in offering data-driven solutions for publishing and handling the marketing and communication vertical. He has propelled a business legacy to the dynamics of the contemporary juncture and has plans to make it more versatile in the future without compromising on its values.   

Frontlist: Since MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) is one of the top Indian publishers of college, school (CBSE), and professional textbooks, you play a crucial part in the quality of education. How can you, as an owner, devise innovative approaches to preserving the same?

Yogendra: Preserving a legacy in any field is one of the most daunting tasks, according to me. This is because you are constantly walking on that thin ice where a fine balance has to be struck between the 'contemporary' and the 'traditional.' Particularly in education, the concerns about quality often seem to take a backseat these days for perhaps other narrower considerations. However, we at MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) believe firmly in our generation's old policy of 'quality first. To preserve yet proceed continuously with this golden rule, we constantly engage with various subject experts, technology experts, and other relevant stakeholders to devise the appropriate approaches per the end user's requirements. Revisiting and analyzing the resulting data further contributes to our cause of devising better approaches because, as they say, data is the new oil.    

Frontlist: The Pandemic has fragmented the book distribution process over the past two years. How did MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) encounter this problem and make available books to students?

Yogendra: Indeed, the Pandemic was an excellent disruption for all the supply chains, and the publishing industry was no exception to the challenges and fragmentation caused by it. However, we approached the situation with the belief that every difficulty also throws up new opportunities and avenues for learning. This positive mindset helped us to respond better to the departures in the pattern of learning that emerged in the backdrop of the Pandemic. Towards this end, technology-based e-learning solutions were developed and offered from our end to the students and other stakeholders involved in the learning process. However, this did not serve as a substitute for our books which, of course, continued to remain pivotal to better learning outcomes but augmented and complimented a comprehensive learning environment.     

Frontlist: The digital presence of MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) is significantly less. Don't you think MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) needs to transform themselves according to the new digital world to sustain themselves with other publications?

Yogendra: Transformation is an ongoing process, and digital transformation is undoubtedly the need of the hour. However, the quantum of digital presence is a very subjective issue and cannot be an objective criterion to measure the sustainability of operations. It depends upon a range of factors, including the kind of verticals you operate in. We plan to deepen and make our digital presence more versatile as we plan to diversify into new verticals in publishing in the near future.    

Frontlist: In your career span, what is the central issue you have encountered in the publishing industry that restricts the Indian publishing roots from flourishing internationally?

Yogendra: ‘Piracy’ is the central issue that I feel has taken a toll on the prospects of the publishing industry to flourish domestically and, more importantly, at the International level. This is because most publishers have a particular ‘genre’ of books to begin with as their area of specialization. They can only expand globally if revenue streams are continuous and commensurate to their expansion plans. Piracy halts this entire process and acts as a barrier to innovation, which is crucial for taking off globally. This problem has only become grave with the evolution of technology as the forms of piracy have multiplied with various technological means of disposal. The intellectual property rights framework needs to be enforced more robustly. 

Frontlist: Being a top Indian publisher, how can we attract young minds to pursue their career in publishing. What are the advantages of having a publishing career today?

Yogendra: Publishing is at crossroads today with many opportunities to offer an equal number of challenges to tackle. With their problem-solving outlook, young minds can tap this opportunity better than anybody else. We can attract young minds to pursue their career in publishing by making them aware that book publishing is not just about a completed book with an author’s name. There is a dense journey behind the final visible product that involves; editing, graphic designing, advertising, marketing, and sales. All these have just as much to do with the publishing as the human body does with the brain. A perspective about all these areas allows for many more opportunities for a career in each of them. The other advantage of publishing is that there is always a sense of satisfaction that you are a part of the learning process that will lead to better societal outcomes.  

Frontlist: Do you have any learnings you would like to pass on to today's generation that teach you to stand firm as youth is the future of our nation?

Yogendra: Over the years, I have learned that success and failure are false binaries, and I believe you 'succeed' or, at worst, 'learn.' It is better sometimes to not have a short-lived success and instead inculcate in yourself much more prolonged learning. This learning which came to you the hard way will help to shape your firm character in the future, and the three Ps will contribute further to stand firm against all odds- Patience, Perseverance, and Persistence.

Frontlist: How can we make more books accessible to promote literature as the Publishing industry helps accelerate the education level?

Yogendra: Firstly, we need to be more flexible and accommodative to the demands of the readership to address the issue of accessibility of books because one can only solve a problem by understanding the aspirations of stakeholders in the first place. Therefore breaking the linguistic and geographical barriers in the publishing industry is very important, alongside overcoming the domination of books written in a few selected languages. The other is, of course, that on the supply side as well, we need to engage better with the various book distribution channels. This requires exploring the newer avenues and maintaining greater depth with the existing ones. A fine balance between these two together can result in better outcomes in terms of solving.    

Frontlist: The Pandemic has fragmented the book distribution process over the past two years. How did MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) encounter this problem and make available books to students?

Yogendra: Indeed, the Pandemic was an excellent disruption for all the supply chains, and the publishing industry was no exception to the challenges and fragmentation caused by it. However, we approached the situation with the belief that every difficulty also throws up new opportunities and avenues for learning. This positive mindset helped us to respond better to the departures in the pattern of learning that emerged in the backdrop of the Pandemic. Towards this end, technology-based e-learning solutions were developed and offered from our end to the students and other stakeholders involved in the learning process. However, this did not serve as a substitute for our books which, of course, continued to remain pivotal to better learning outcomes but augmented and complimented a comprehensive learning environment.     

Frontlist: The digital presence of MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) is significantly less. Don't you think MAHAVIR BOOKS (Mahavir Publishing Company) needs to transform themselves according to the new digital world to sustain themselves with other publications?

Yogendra: Transformation is an ongoing process, and digital transformation is undoubtedly the need of the hour. However, the quantum of digital presence is a very subjective issue and cannot be an objective criterion to measure the sustainability of operations. It depends upon a range of factors, including the kind of verticals you operate in. We plan to deepen and make our digital presence more versatile as we plan to diversify into new verticals in publishing in the near future.    

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