How publishers beat the Covid blues in 2021!

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The COVID-19 pandemic has reset all equations everywhere, including in publishing, but editors say they have learned to put their heads down in 2021 and focus on the details following the traumatic experience of the last year and were able to bring out a great lineup of books.

Chiki Sarkar, editor of Juggernaut, found the second wave of Covid like everyone else completely traumatic. “Professionally, work resumed brilliantly in the second half (2021) with Juggernaut having two No.1 bestsellers and publishing brilliant writers like Manu Pillai, Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott Clark and Chandrashekhar Dasgupta,” a-t she told PTI.

For Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HarperCollins India, 2021 has been an important year in many ways. “This has been our best year of publication yet. HarperCollins received the Editor of the Year 2021 award at Tata Lit Live – for publishing some of the best books in a wide range of genres.

Kavitha Iyer won the Best Non-Fiction Book Award for “Landscapes of Loss” at Tata Lit Live, and Anukrti Upadhyay won the 2021 Susheela Devi Literature Award for Best Fiction Book. “At the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival, we won the award for best YA writing for“ Saira Zariwala is Afraid ”by Shabnam Minwalla. Ramachandra Guha won the prestigious Howard Milton Award for her book“ The Commonwealth Of Cricket ”and“ No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories’, a collection of Jayant Kaikini’s short stories translated from Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana, won the American Literary Translators Association’s National Translation Award for 2021 for prose, ”he said.

“Ultimately, Mayur Suvarna won the Best Narrator Award at India Voice Fest 21 for the audiobook version of Mukund Rajan’s memoir ‘The Brand Custodian’ produced by HarperCollins,” he adds. “Our digital marketing has been cut and industry leading and our Harper Broadcast newsletter has won the 2021 Email Marketing Gold from M3 – Masters of Modern Marketing.

“In November, HarperCollins also moved to new offices in Gurgaon to launch a hybrid working model,” Padmanabhan said. What is most gratifying, he said, is that Indian readers are buying many more books than even before the pandemic, and sales of children’s books are at an all-time high. “It was a pivotal year in many ways,” he says.

Sumanta Datta, chief executive of Oxford University Press (India), said the pandemic had reset all equations everywhere, including educational publishing, but Oxford University Press (OUP) continued to focus on how it can support the future of learning, as the pandemic goes digital learning in education is years ahead.

“We have reviewed and aligned most of our existing titles with the National Education Policy (NEP) framework, and we now have 142 new titles that align with NEP 2020. We are also preparing to bring forward other changes to our titles once the national program framework has been revised. “At OUP India, we have focused our efforts on strengthening our blended learning products and trying to help as many teachers, educators, parents and students as possible to adjust to the ‘ new normal, ”says Datta.

“We have organized over 1,100 workshops and teacher trainings since January 2021, reaching over 100,000 teachers across India. In 2021, we also launched an eBook library model with a bunch of 200 eBooks across all industries, including exam prep titles like IELTS, ”he adds.

According to Westland publisher Karthika VK, it has been a difficult time for publishing in general in 2021, with disruptions in day-to-day work and in particular with remote work. “However, we have also produced some of our best work during this time, in non-fiction and fiction, for adults and children, in English, Hindi and in translation. 2020 has been a shock and several months have been lost to blockages but by 2021 we had learned to put our heads down and focus on the details – assembly, design, production – and the sales and marketing teams kept the momentum going even in the toughest moments. more difficult, working closely with our authors to ensure maximum coverage and reach, ”she says.

“We also focused on building closer ties with bookstores. So looking back, especially the reviews and the attention our books have received over the past year, it has been quite extraordinary. winning the JCB award, ‘Queeristan’ winning the CK Prahalad Business Book award and Indian Icon winning the Gaja Business Book award, ”said Karthika.

To sum up 2021, Poulomi Chatterjee, editor and publisher of Hachette Book Publishing India Pvt. Ltd, says it has been a very good year for all of Hachette’s publishing lists, both local and international.

“In India we have published a great range of books that have received great reviews and reader comments, award nominations and have also sold well – ‘My Life in Full’ by Indra Nooyi, ‘Space Life Matter “by Hari Pulakkat, Mridula” Watershed “by Ramesh,” The Invisible Majority “by VR Ferose and CK Meena,” The Earthspinner “by Anuradha Roy,” The Eminently Forgettable Life of Mrs Pankajam “by Meera Rajagopalan, the second volume of “The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction”, among many others, “she said.

Chatterjee says much of 2020 has been “spent adjusting to the rapid and constant changes that have been bombarded by us on almost every front. It has been a year of great learning and has helped us prepare in a practical way. to continue to be productive and keep schedules and business running under the most unpredictable circumstances. ”

“At the same time, it also made us more empathetic and helped strengthen our resolve to maintain normalcy both small and large. This year communication has been smoother between teams in WFH situations. we have also been able to successfully realign our publishing lists and budgets almost every week and publish our books and authors well in a particularly difficult market, ”she says.

Priya Kapoor, editorial director of Roli Books, said that many books that were originally due to be published in 2020 have been moved in 2021. Country has abruptly ended our plans. It took us a few months to get back on our feet, but I am proud to share that we were able to publish almost 30 books in a year of great loss for many members of the team, ”he said. she says.

“Many of them were shortlisted for prestigious awards and made it to bestseller lists. The list is diverse in terms of topics and formats while maintaining high quality content and design, ”she adds. Roli Books ended the year with a slew of production and design awards from the Federation of Indian Publishers and Tamal Bandyopapdhyay’s book “Pandemonium: The Great Indian Banking Tragedy” won the award for best business book from the year at the Tata Lit Live Award.

Trisha Niyogi, publisher of Niyogi Books, says that although the first half of 2021 has been eventful, “we saw the market recover from August. The infrastructure that we have started to build in terms of digitization and collaborative activities in 2020, has ensured us better prepared for 2021 “.


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