Tagore Publication Assistance Program for French book publishing

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

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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.

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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