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BW Businessworld

Booked On India

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When Jeffrey Archer  is effusive about how he 'feels' towards India  and is "delighted that my new book is coming out in India first, ahead of the rest of the world,"  it is more than just the love of Indian people that is emboldening publishers Pan Macmillan India to launch the latest work of a bestselling writer, here, prior to its global release.

Sins Of The Father — Archer's second novel in the thriller trilogy, The Clifton Chronicles, and sequel to the phenomenally successful  Only Time Will Tell published last year — will be released on 3 March at the New Delhi World Book Fair. The worldwide release is scheduled for 15 March. Daniel Watts, regional director (India and Asia) of Pan Macmillan says that, "this year we had to come up with new marketing initiatives to draw attention to (Archer's) series and the book fair is a great platform to launch what is probably going to be our biggest book of the year." He is however quick to mention the strategic importance of the growing book market In India.

Growing Opportunities
According Nielson BookScan India's research, the Indian book market has grown by 45 per cent in volume and 40 per cent in value by 2011 with over 13 million books being sold, worth Rs 3.28 billion. Adult fiction is one of the fastest growing genres, trends indicate. While the quality conscious, discerning reader may deliberate on what these figures represent in terms of readership within India's literary culture, the sheer size of the market is a force to reckon with in the global publishing arena. International publishing and literary consultant, Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, believes that "with other territories getting saturated, international publishers are naturally seeking newer markets where their authors will be accepted easily. Hence, it is not surprising that Jeffrey Archer's new book is being launched in India first."

In this context, one of the definitive aspects of the Indian market, Watts points out, is the fact that there hasn't been a huge explosion of digital/e books and therefore the print books market is really flourishing, as is evident by numbers. Incidentally in 2010, Archer had launched his short story collection, And Thereby Hangs a Tale in Mumbai, ahead of the global launch. "For practical reasons as well an India launch becomes important since we print a unique edition for the Indian market whereas in England we usually publish hard covers, as opposed to paperbacks," Watts reasons. 

For a company that hasn't been functioning in the Indian publishing market that long —Pan Macmillan India began full scale operations in India from August 2012 — promoting an international face becomes pivotal for building brand equity. "Our local publishing programme has taken about of year to acquire and bring out the works of local (Indian) writers. Thus, the company's strategy has been focused on drawing attention to big international brands, Jeffrey is one of them. Ken Follet (whose India visit and look launch took place with great aplomb, last year) was another," asserts Watts.  Archer understandably is an ideal choice, given his decade long association with India and the huge fan following he continues to enjoy. Interestingly, with the release of Only Time Will Tell last year, the gamut of positive comments, feedback and reviews generated in India significantly helped in boosting sales in England and elsewhere. Logically, thereby one can derive how excitement can help promotion and increase revenue for Pan Macmillan overseas. Archer's monumental thriller trilogy spans between 1920 to 2020 and follows the protagonist Harry Clifton and his life from his birth in the backs streets of Bristol, through his time at Oxford University and to the outbreak of the Second World War.

(With Agencies)