Cover Publishers on publishing

The IPA is very happy to publish a second extract from the contribution by the Publishers Association’s Emma House to the book Publishers on Publishing, which was published during the IPA Congress in New Delhi earlier this year.

Q: How does Publishers Association (PA) view the Indian market/ publishing industry in the context of the global publishing industry?

Emma: Nielsen estimates the Indian book sector to now be worth US$6.76 billion and to have over 9,000 publishers, and it’s no surprise that we’d say that India has to have the most exciting publishing industry in the world. With the myriad voices and languages, genres, styles and formats, it’s one of the most important countries for publishing.

Q: How do the PA’s activities in India compare to those in other emerging markets like China and Africa?

Emma: The PA has some activities in India, mainly around supporting our fellow publishing and publishing association colleagues with their activities, but also supporting our UK publishers who want to do business in India. We provide useful market information to UK publishers to help them navigate the market. We also support our Indian colleagues with information to help support their own lobbying activities. We work very closely with the UK Embassy and British Council in India, especially the IP (intellectual property) attaché, creative industries and literature teams.

Q: You work closely with the API in India whose members have their head offices as members of the PA. How does this dual relationship pan out?

Emma: We work closely with the API and their membership is shared with the PA membership, the multinational companies who have offices in both countries. They don’t have any full time staff as we do in the UK and therefore we aim to help and support as much as we can in providing information and insight. Equally, they provide enormous support to us by giving us valuable information on the market that we can communicate to our members.

Q: You also work closely with the FIP in India. What has been your experience in dealing with key publishing concerns in this context?

Emma: The FIP is the Indian member of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the PA is the UK member of the IPA and so we work closely in the international community. This is very much on top-level industry matters such as copyright and freedom to publish, which are really important to both our countries.

Q: For several years you have been working closely with the API and FIP on piracy- and copyright-related issues. What has been your experience? And what do you see as the future course, especially after the verdict in the Delhi University (DU) case [1]?
Emma: Copyright fuels publishing, which in turn helps with literacy, education, social mobility and well-being. The three associations work closely together in this area to explain to the multiple stakeholders what copyright actually is, why it matters, and what publishers contribute to the world and to society, thanks to copyright. There is a huge amount of work to do in India post the DU case on promoting the value of copyright and why it’s important.

Q: Your role has always been to work closely with publishers. How has this relationship evolved over time and have the issues and discussions changed over time?

Emma: I started off looking after international affairs and moved to cover other areas such as educational publishing and open access in journal publishing. A big part of my role is to understand the needs of publishers and how we can provide them with information or services to help their business. It’s equally important we understand what is happening on the policy and legislation landscape so we are able to influence this in favour of publishers and the wider publishing industry. This hasn’t really changed over the years as at the end of the day we rely on member subscriptions and we must provide value for money. The issues we deal with have also stayed relatively similar, revolving around copyright, the supply chain, demonstrating the value of publishers and publishing.

Q: What are your impressions of the landscape of Indian publishing and publishers now and in the future? How do you see it in comparison to other markets like China and Africa?

Emma: Indian publishing has a long history and I see it having a very long future, especially internationally. The Indian diaspora around the world is now able to enjoy reading Indian authors much more than ever before and so the potential for export of Indian published works is enormous. Digital publishing and e-commerce have also meant that books are very accessible and can be enjoyed all over the country and at a range of different prices. Freedom of expression and freedom to publish are very important to the future success of Indian publishing and the industry must work together to defend the principle.

Q: From an international context, looking at Indian publishing within the frame of the global publishing industry, where do you see the pitfall and opportunities over the next few years?

Emma: India’s standing in the global ranking of publishing nations can only improve as publishers become more sophisticated, more reliable statistics become available, and the distribution network continues to improve. The only obstacles I see to India’s progress are a weakening rather than strengthening of copyright and its enforcement and a tightening up of freedom to publish regulation. Indian publishers can also benefit from embracing the opportunities that technology brings.

[1] DU case: Three foreign publishers filed a case against a Delhi University photocopying shop for large scale photocopying of their content. They lost both the case and the appeal in 2017 after which they are working to improve copyright awareness rather than pursue the legal path.

EMMA HOUSE is Deputy CEO of the Publishers Association, the trade body in the UK for books and journal publishers. Emma has worked at the PA for 9 years, having previously spent 6 years in international roles at the London Book Fair and 6 years in international magazine publishing.

Reproduced with kind permission. ‘Publishers on Publishing – Inside India’s Book Business’ features 65 contributions from professionals in the Indian and international publishing industry. Edited by industry stalwart, Nitasha Devasar (Managing Director of Taylor and Francis India), and published by All About Book Publishing – the Indian publishing industry magazine. You can find out more here.

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