Mid-day: Indian Publishing



This is a fascinating article about how some publishing houses in India are creating a specific branch dedicated to Young Adult fiction. Penguin has created Ink, Rupa has Red Turtle, Scholastic has Nova, and a new independent publishing house called Duckbill Publishing has come onto the scene. It’s exciting to read about the Indian authors who are writing books that are real and tell about what’s going on in India. While YA fiction wasn’t absent in Indian publishing, creating the separate branch has allowed for better marketing and promotion of these books.

Indian publishers are looking for books that appeal to Indian children and young adults through characters who they can identify with, and cultural settings that are familiar. “Ameya Nagarajan, editor of Inked, says the YA space in India was largely imported, and that’s where Penguin saw the opportunity to explore the segment. “Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter are great reads, but children today also want to read something home-grown, something that is as diverse and versatile as them. For instance, there is a transition a child makes from being an 11-year-old to a young adult, and looks for a love story. We need that love story to operate in his/her newly-formed world.””

An interesting statement is, “There is also an understanding among publishers that fun books needs to be published for fun’s sake, and that morals and preachy endings are best left to lurk in dark corners inaccessible to their unsuspecting young readers.” It’s interesting because most books, dare I say all books, have a point that they make. The protagonist goes on some kind of journey to reach some kind of goal, overcoming obstacles and making some kind of moral choice that changes their life forever. Or perhaps that’s just how it seems to me. It would be interesting to read these books that supposedly are just “fun” and “for fun’s sake.”

Overall, this article is a pleasure to read and nicely broken up by pictures of Indian children reading books.


Publishing Perspectives: Publishing in India Today



This article is about the rise in book publishing in India, and how the industry has had to form a “team mentality” of sorts in order to get books to all interested parties. Large publishing houses such as Penguin India have chosen to “co-publish” with some smaller independent publishing companies in order to get valuable material out into the public. It’s interesting because, “Though some might say this eventually means the slow death or “selling out” of independent publishers, it would seem that this could also lead to symbiotic relationships that could work in the favor of the reader, who get access to all sorts of books and writers who are able to reach a wider readership base.”

In India, most publishers are literally born into the industry, yet most editors are there by choice. There isn’t a large amount of money in publishing, but those who stay are there because they truly love the publishing industry. “Being an editor in India is hugely satisfying, though not monetarily,” Mukherjee says, “because of the growing market and because there is scope for taking publishing decisions which can spark off trends. In India, some editors are adventurous, and the industry gives them the scope for that.” This opportunity to commission offbeat books that can set trends in new writing makes the field particularly interesting.” An editor in India must be quite a passionate soul who truly loves the written word, or perhaps they simply appreciate their opportunity to have a fairly good job that is interesting and allowing them to grow and “fend for themselves.”

India is certainly an interesting country to watch in regards to the growth of book publishing. As they pull themselves together and find successful ways to market to all those interested, they will surely grow and expand into international markets. Great content is sure to come out from India in the future.

Publishing Perspectives: As KL Book Fair Opens Publishers Eye Booming Southeast Asia



This is an interesting article about the growth of books published in Malaysia. There are some very interesting statistics, for example, “While in 2005, the number of titles published were about 10,000, by 2009, the figure was more than 16,000.” That’s definite growth!

Malaysia has seen rapid growth in the publishing industry, with the government actively supporting. “The number of publishers in the country is estimated to be at 500, with the industry being concentrated in Kuala Lumpur. A majority of them are small and privately owned, while the rest are government institutions, or government-aided institutions such as university presses and publishing departments.” It’s quite encouraging to see this as it means literacy and interest in reading has increased in Malaysia.

Fiction and religious titles are the most popular books in the Malay language. “It is not uncommon for a bestselling title to sell 20,000 copies, while some Malay fiction or religious titles could even sell 50,000 or 100,000 copies.” This shows that Malaysian people are more interested in “home-grown” kinds of material, but imported bestselling titles are still actively pursued.

Overall, this article is a great read with lots of fascinating information to read about how the book publishing industry in Malaysia is growing and influencing the world around it.

South China Morning Post: Limited Opportunities in Tightly Regulated Publishing Market



The article in this paper tells of how difficult it is to publish a book in China. There is a complicated process to go through that would surely siphon off the weaker ones, so perhaps China is actually striving for excellence, amongst all the rules. The only way to publish an internationally published book in China is to co-publish through a Chinese publishing company. It would certainly be very frustrating to go through the process, especially when the end result isn’t quite the same as the original product, and, “Under a co-publishing arrangement, real publishing rights and powers reside with the Chinese party.” That means they have the right to change whatever doesn’t fulfil the rules and regulations, and have control over the details of the actual publishing and promotion of the book.

From a Western perspective all this “fuss and bother” seems crazy. We are constantly exposed to books and material that is written from all kinds of perspectives, on all kinds of topics, which can delight or offend readers. China strictly censors any content that is published, so that readers aren’t encouraged to question the culture and government of China. It’s quite a difference from Australia, where we make fun of politicians and question just about every decision that is made.

It’s interesting to know about the publishing industry in China and just how complicated it can get to publish a book in the country. The author of the article concludes that, “Removal of the restrictions on distribution should help eliminate a major hurdle for foreign publishers seeking to do business in China. Unfortunately, direct publishing is off-limits to foreigners for the foreseeable future. Indirect access to the publishing market, with foreign content publishers having little control over content and publication format, continues to be the only means for foreigners to establish a presence in China’s publishing market.” Maybe it seems unfair that China can impose such restrictions, but perhaps over time they will lessen and the market will become more open and cooperative.

Paper Republic



This is a very good interview with a man who works in the publishing industry in China. He talks about censorship and translation of books that are imported into China. It’s an eye-opening look into what goes on when a book is translated to be sold in China, including the processes that have to be walked through and the people who are required to see the book before it’s finalised. Li Jihong, the interviewee, is a publishing professional who co-found Shanghai Silk Books. He started out as a freelance translator, gaining much experience of the questionable practices that goes on in the industry, which led him to start up a publishing company of his own. It’s great to read his answers to the questions, it really is interesting to understand what goes on in Chinese publishing and makes you wonder how badly some English-written texts are being translated into Chinese.

He talks about his translations being changed at the next level of editing, “They misread the source text and arbitrarily replaced correct renditions with flawed, even absurd ones.” So he left the company and co-found Shanghai Silk Books with his friend, Xie Fangwei. Their mission is to, “introduce high-quality translations of English literature and works in the ‘New Age Movement’ genre. We believe that Silk Books can differentiate itself by providing healthier, more spiritually nourishing reading matter to its Chinese readership.” This is an exciting mission statement and certainly captures the heart of aspiring publishers who are hoping to get into publishing for similar reasons.

Shanghai Silk Books doesn’t quite fit into a particular category in the publishing industry as it’s something new and innovative. “We secure the translation rights for a title we have targeted, render it in Chinese, and sell the translated texts to state-owned publishers for a certain percentage of the royalties. We decide the cover design in conjunction with the publisher.” They are not quite a literary agent or an independent publisher. Li Jihong suggests “content provider” might be a more accurate term. Whatever the title, they are growing and providing a wonderful alternative way for international publishers to get their books translated and sold into China.

NPR: Book News – US Authors face Hard Choice when Publishing in China



The part of this article that is about China tells about the strict censorship that China imposes on all books. Authors wishing to sell their books in China have to allow their books to be censored, free of “ethnic tensions, Taiwan and Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, are off limits, and books that contain even a passing reference to the Cultural Revolution or contemporary Chinese leaders.” China have the power to cut text from books that they feel don’t represent China in a flattering enough light. It may seem that to publish a book in China there are many topics off-limits, but perhaps this is just something we have to take into account for now.

The article gives an example of how a writer and publisher need to think in order to sell their book in China: “Ezra F. Vogel, whose biography of Deng Xiaoping was cut by censors to present a more flattering picture of the Communist Party, told the newspaper, “To me the choice was easy. I thought it was better to have 90 percent of the book available here than zero.”” Those that read his book would probably have known enough about the Communist Party to know that the book had left bits out. So it wasn’t that big a deal to let censors cut text out of the book, just an inconvenience. The question some would have is whether truth is still truth if some of the details are left out.

Overall, this article is interesting, albeit short. It offers a glimpse into what publishers need to keep in mind when selling a book into China.

New Asia Books



The presentation of this page is quite attractive and colourful, and the beautiful background is creatively connected to the text through the use of headings like, “Planting the Seed.” It’s a very intriguing way of presenting the information about their publishing company.

New Asia Publishing House has a long history of publishing educational books in Hong Kong, especially in the primary school sector. The page includes a brief timeline of events that shows the growth of their company and how influential they have become.

They also incorporate an online resources section on their site that allows teachers to get further tools to support their teaching. “By logging onto our website – http://www.newasiabooks.com, teachers can freely download reference materials, photos, drawings, question banks, Powerpoints and other electronic teaching tools or software. It also provides links to other useful and relevant websites.” Students can also find useful online resources on this site to help them learn, available in Chinese, and English for Maths and General Studies.

Overall, this site is quite informative about the New Asia Publishing House, and is presented in a way that makes it quite memorable.