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Indian Publishing Industry Report

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Landmark Moments of the Industry



Segments of the Publishing Industry



Smaller Aspects of the Industry: Self-Publishing and Digital Publishing



Distribution and Retail: Key Players



Challenges in the Publishing Industry



Major Events in the Indian Publishing Calendar









India is the world’s seventh largest book publishing country with more than 16,000 publishers. It is the third largest English language publisher in the world. More than 80,000 new titles in 24 different languages are published every year in India.

Currently, India’s book market is worth Rs 261 billion making it the sixth largest in the world and second largest if only English is considered. It is expected to touch Rs 739 billion by 2020.

This is as per the “Nielsen India Book Market Report 2015: Understanding the Indian Book Market.” The report was first of its kind and was commissioned by The Association of Publishers in India (API) and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).

Landmark Moments of the Industry

The first of these was post-independence, when the government decided to Indianise the publishing industry and said the foreign companies could only be in India if they had 49% or less share. This allowed Indian authors to grow and Indian books to be published. At this time the Indian books were primarily educational.

The next major development was in the 60s when the NCERT was set up to create model textbooks. It went on to become the government publisher removing this area from the reach of private publishers.

The third, perhaps around the late 80s, early 90s, when two key things happen: the entry of young professionals in the industry, the setting up of new houses, who begin to publish for the general reader as opposed to the student. The other important development is the devaluation of the rupee against the dollar, which made imports more expensive and hence reduced the number of units that were bought. This created space for unconventional and small publishers enter the industry, marking the start of trade books.

One of the most recent events is the government’s decision to allow 100% FDI in the year 2000. Due to this India saw the entry and establishment of the multinational players like Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and so on.         

Segments of the Publishing Industry

The publishing industry in India can be divided into trade books and educational books. The educational segment holds an upper hand with textbook publishing taking 40%. The pie chart below shows the complete statics.

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The “general and literary fiction” is the number one genre in the trade books segment and “test prep” is the most sought-after genre in the educational segment (academic books).

More than half of the total trade book titles published in India are in Hindi and English, with Hindi constituting about 26%, followed by English at 24%. It is seen that 55% of all the trade sales are English language titles. Books published in Hindi are 35% and the other 10% is other Indian languages.

The educational textbook market is dominated by the Government of India. Before the establishment of the NCERT in 1961, the textbook market in India was domination by a handful of foreign publishers. Now, the government (NCERT, State Text Book Boards, NBT, and Publishing Division, combined) is the largest publisher in the country.

Also, the Indian publishing market is non-homogenous and is structured according to region and language.

Smaller aspects of the industry: Self-Publishing and Digital Publishing

Though there has been an increase in self-publishing with the entry of players like,, Quills Ink, Zorba books and AuthorsUpfront, the market is fragmented and defeated by the lack of marketing and distribution support for self-published authors. Things didn’t change much even with Amazon launching its self-publishing segment in India in August 2012.

Digital publishing is an emerging market in India. The market is still small because e-reading devices are expensive for most consumers. Amazon’s Kindle entered the Indian market in August 2012. In July 2012 Penguin India which is the largest trade publisher in the country, launched 240-titles as ebook editions. Currently, the biggest market for e-books in India is the higher education sector. The emergence of online retail has been a boon to both publishers and consumers in India. Publishers have thus been able to bypass dodgy supply chains and book buyers have easier access to books at lower prices. As per one of every four publishers surveyed by the industry body FICCI, the growth in econtent consumption is more than 20% annually.

Distribution and Retail: Key Players

There are two kinds of distribution model adopted in India:

1. Books are offered to the store on 100% return basis.

2. Books are stored in the shop as per demand

Major distributors in India include:

1. International Book House: They have more than 90 publishers as clients.

2. Indian Book House: The distribution arm of Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd., is one of the largest distributors in the country.

3. India Book Distributors: They have a network that covers 7 cities in India



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