What’s happening in the writing and publishing world in India right now? Found three stories related to this sphere.
There are around 10,000 publishers in India today, with textbooks owning a large chunk of the business. The managing director of the publishing house S Chand group is one example. Founded in 1939 in Old Delhi, the S Chand Group has raised its IPO in April 2017. They’ve come a long way for a company that publishes textbooks. To know about the textbook business in India, read this Forbes story by Paramita Chatterjee.
Another story I stumbled upon is about the GST book connection. The good news is that there is no GST on books but the bad news is that making a book has just become a bit more expensive. So the raw materials that are required to create a book including paper and glue and the cost of employing freelancers have all gone up.
“But why will publishers not get the same benefit that other industries will get? As with the older Value Added Tax, the GST also includes the concept of Input Tax Credits (ITC). Put simply, this means that the seller of the final product has to pay GST at the prevailing rate, but can claim credits on all the GST already paid by his suppliers. In this scenario, the publisher would have been able to claim ITC on the GST paid its suppliers – had there been a GST on the books it’s selling.”
For more analysis read this essay in the Scroll by Jaya Bhattacharjee Rose.
On a more positive note, writers from neighboring countries are finding the Indian publishing industry a better bet with a large number of manuscripts from Pakistan and Sri Lanka adding to the South Asian quotient. Why is this happening? Several reasons have been mentioned including rejection at the homefront owing to fear of controversy and censorship. Some writers also feel that India has a diverse enough audience to accommodate fiction from another country. More about South Asia’s publishing haven by Somrita Ghosh here.