JBM’s excellent traction will lead to a flourishing rights business

Jaipur BookMark – a manifestation of what is possible

Jaipur Literary Festival
Hans Jacob Frydeniund, ambassador of Norway in India, Anushree Rathore, author, Namita Gokhle, author, publisher and founder and co-director of Jaipur Literary Festival and Jaipur BookMark releasing Gandhinama in Hindi. Photo IPP

In 2014, the Jaipur BookMark held its first event at a smaller palace (not far but not a walkable distance) away from the main Jaipur Literary Festival. The commitment of the organizers in building a business platform never faltered, nor did their interest in Indian language publishing and poetry. The event has grown well, found its feet, and moved to its own compact haveli in the main JLF Diggi Palace grounds. It is likely to eventually serve its manifold and ultimate purposes of improving the publishing rights business, critical to the realization of its slogan ‘Where books mean business.‘  Many in the publishing community have supported the growth of this event that now lists 33 associates and sponsors with varying levels of contribution. Major Indian publishers such as Seagull and DC Books have stepped up substantially. Still, one partner stands out for its continued support right from the first JBM event – the Norwegian Embassy, and it deserves both praise and thanks – these guys get it!

Mita Kapoor, CEO of Siyahi, literary director JCB Prize for Literature, Elane Cnning, executive officer of Swansea University’s Dylan Thomas Prize, Sunny Singh, author, founder Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color and Aanchal Malhotra, oral historian and prize winning author. Photo IPP

The Jaipur Literary Festival itself is an enormous manifestation and accomplishment of what is possible – where art is necessary no matter the constraints, physical, cultural, or political. The organizers are navigators in a universe fraught with sponsors, egos, and politics. In its 13th year, one should have understood better all along what it represented – that in a less than ideal world not only did it manifest what is possible but that it has all along been the herald and witness to a literate, creative and democratic movement amongst the youth of the country. In this sense, JLF is quite rightly anathema to its right-wing, wind-bag detractors – it represents creativity, rational and scientific thinking, the courageous act of writing and speaking out, and the legacy of non-violent discourse and persuasion.

L-R: Anushree Rathore, Oscar Pujol, Aditi Maheshwari Goyal, Rakhshanda Jalil and Ravi Deecee. Photo IPP

Translating National Narratives: Aditi Maheshwari Goyal engaged Anushree Rathore, Oscar Pujol, Rakhshanda Jalil, and Ravi Deecee in a conversation about language and identity. Here again, the tension between the construction of national identity and collective consciousness across regional borders and languages contesting the rich diversity of art was highlighted.

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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