LBF Publishers introduces AR books

Augmented Reality introduced by LBF Publications
Augmented Reality introduced by LBF Publications

Founded in 2007 by Purushottam Agarwal and his son Piyush Agarwal, Indore-based Learn By Fun Publications Pvt. Ltd. (LBF) is a renowned publisher of academic books. Apart from book publishing, Purushottam Agarwal is associated with many other business initiatives, such as coal mining, transportation, shipping and warehousing. He is a manufacturer of cement bags as well. The company publishes text books based on the National Curriculum Framework 2005 (NCF-2005), a framework that is applicable commonly for all the national and state boards across India.

In a bid to make education more interesting for children, LBF recently introduced an online learning platform which includes books crafted using Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The AR books offer a 3D view of the content. This approach was adopted observing the increase in children’s screen time. This new method, aimed at directing children’s attention towards education rather than internet or playing with bingo apps for real money, was implemented to adopt a multi-sensory approach in education. The company further plans to launch an online learning app with multiple themes for easy understanding.

LBF is a well-known publisher in Indore and its surrounding towns and cities and a major chunk of schools in and around the city have adopted the course and curriculum provided by the publisher. The company prints all its books through various printers located in and around the city. The company entered the publishing market in 2007 with around 143 titles and has more than 250 titles in its list.

Piyush Agarwal, chairman and managing director of LBF Publications
Piyush Agarwal, chairman and managing director of LBF Publications

“Among these 250 titles, most of them are different versions of the same book. We keep introducing changes with every version. We change the quality of paper and sometimes introduce bright and attractive colors in our books to make them visually more appealing. With newer technology, it has now become easy for us. With the single pass technology in most of the printers, color printing has now become easy and the printing speeds have gone up. The physical appearance of the books has also undergone massive transformation over the years,” says Piyush Agarwal, chairman and managing director of LBF.

LBF outsources all its work and has tie-ups with around 50 local printers. Recently, LBF has even started outsourcing its print work to Mumbai. Books published by LBF are supplied majorly to schools in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. It is trying to improve its penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

“The publishing industry is going through a transition. We’re seeing mergers and acquisitions by major publishing houses in the country. In 2016, we heard that S Chand had acquired Madhuban, Vikas and Saraswati Book House while Laxmi Publications acquired Macmillan Higher Education. As far as the figures, they show an upward trend and the forecast predicts significant growth by 2020. I think the industry will grow as the literacy rate of our country improves,” Piyush Agarwal concludes.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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