At JBM 2020, books mean business

Jaipur BookMark, 22–25 January 2020, Jaipur

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JBM 2019. Photo JBM
JBM 2019. Photo JBM

Each year, as the world comes together to celebrate the written word at Jaipur Literature Festival, publishing trends are acknowledged and commemorated at Jaipur Bookmark — where books mean business. The 7th edition of Jaipur BookMark (JBM) 2020 will take place from 22 to 25 January 2020 at Jaipur.

JBM brings together stakeholders of the book industry from across the world – publishers, literary agents, writers, translators, translation agencies and booksellers. It provides the right atmosphere to inspire dialog and a space for one-on-one meetings and networking through relevant sessions and focused roundtables.

Publishing business sessions at Jaipur BookMark 2020 include ‘The Heart of a Bookstore,’ in which booksellers from around the world speak of their profession and the joy and learnings they derive from it; ‘The Big Book Box for Kids,’ where authors, publishers and booksellers discuss the challenges in making children’s books visible and accessible to young readers, as well as marketing strategies for overcoming them. The session on ‘Translation as Intimacy’ will feature a friendly face-off between Sunandini Banerjee and Arunava Sinha; ‘Food for Thought: Gastronomy and Literature’ will see food writers gather to share their recipes for food and literature. ‘Consumer Intelligence: Who’s Reading What’ will be a session for publishers and authors who will discuss how this big data can be used to analyze book-buying behavior.

In 2020, the Norwegian Embassy is once again partnering with Jaipur BookMark, marking the 7th year of their association. Naveen Kishore of the Seagull School of Publishing is on board both as an advisor and supporter of the festival. Seagull Books Kolkata has single-handedly put India on the international translation map with its global list of authors, which include Nobel Prize winners and others shortlisted in major international literary awards categories. The French Institute in India will bring representatives of the French Publishing Industry to JBM 2020. India will be the Guest of Honor nation at the Salon du Livre in Paris from 20 to 23 March 2020.

JBM is known to bring world-renowned publishers, including the iconic author and publisher, Roberto Calasso, the chief executive officer of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos, the creative force behind Seagull Books, and Naveen Kishore.

At JBM 2020, attendees will meet publishers like Jo Lendle, Naveen Kishore, Urvashi Butalia, Vera Michalsky, Michael Dwyer, Niko Pfund, Atiya Zaidi, Richa Jha and booksellers like Arsen Kashkashian (JLF delegate), Jeff Deutsch, Priyanka Malhotra, Maina Bhagat, and Rick Simonson, among others.

Apart from being a B2B platform that brings together the best of the publishing industry from across the world, JBM also provides aspiring writers with an exciting platform ‘iWrite’ – a new writers’ mentorship program. The program invites poets, literary enthusiasts and novelists to share their stories and get an opportunity to be mentored by experts in the field. No longer limited to first-time writers, the initiative not only gives writers a chance to express themselves, but also lets them mingle and interact with publishers, literary agents, translators and other industry experts in a pitching session, and perhaps even get a chance to sign a book deal!

The three major awards that will be announced at JBM 2020 –include the Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award, The Romain Rolland Prize, and The Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize.

The Indian publishing industry has snowballed with the world’s attention converging on it, and for JBM, this has meant that creating a meaningful B2B platform. Jaipur BookMark was conceived to run parallel to the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2014. In the seven years since its inception, JBM has emerged as a nodal point for the South Asian publishing industry and focuses on the book trade.

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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