Tagore Publication Assistance Program for French book publishing

Embassy of France in India – Ideas and Book Office/Institut français de Paris

Photo - myfrenchlife.org
Photo - myfrenchlife.org

Started in 1990, the Publication Assistance Program has enabled over 12,000 titles by French language writers to be translated and published in 75 countries. These programs have been an important tool for the development of the influence of French literature around the globe. The provisions of this program have benefited foreign publishers willing to add French writers in their catalog via translation (or, in some instances, local editions in French).

Publication Assistance Program in India, Tagore, is a support program for Indian publishers who wish to publish a French book translated into English or any Indian language. Priority is given to fiction and social sciences translated into Indian regional languages.

The selection depends on the intrinsic quality of the book and its importance in terms of creative aspects and that of French thought. Local publishers’ commitment to distributing and promoting the book and activity and participation of the local publisher in developing a long-term translation policy for publishing French writers is also taken into consideration.

There is no restriction in terms of the type of works (literature, children’s literature, graphic novels, social sciences and humanities, academic and scientific publications) provided there is a readership in India.

Assistance for Indian publishers

Indian publishers may ask for help in funding of rights expenses or license fee (assistance provided by Institut Français, an autonomous agency for cultural exchange under the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the French Book Office): from centralized budget of Institut Français, payment of the rights expenses/license fee already negotiated between Indian and French publishers as advance payment or as per flat fee. In this case, the assistance allocated by Institut Français, on the suggestion of the Book Offices of the French Embassies abroad, is directly paid to the French publishers, as a substitution to the payment made by the Indian publisher. Please note that these rights can’t be reimbursed to the Indian publisher but will be paid directly to the French publisher. A contract between Institut Français and the Indian publisher is then signed to regulate the modalities. This support has to be mentioned in all printed copies of the book (as per the contract).

Application file for funding

An application file can be submitted, which will allow the funding agencies to assess the seriousness of the project and the quality of the book. The agencies evaluate the file in two sessions that take place every year. In the first session, only complete files received by the Book Office before 1 January 2020 will be considered. In the second session, only complete files received by the Book Office before 20 July 2020 will be considered. The Book Office will get back to the applicant publisher within two months after each session. The local assistance to publication will depend on the decision of the Book Office. Payments of the foreign language rights expenses will be the final decision by Institut Français, on the advice of the Book Office.

Special cases

A publishing house can send several files for each session. For the payments of the license fee, if an additional amount is due by the Indian publisher to the French publisher at a later stage (for reprint, supplementary edition, royalties), it has to be paid by the Indian publisher.

In case of substantial postponement of the publication of a title in India, the Book Office can interrupt its collaboration with the Indian publishing house till the title is brought out properly.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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