Over the years, Niyogi Books has established itself as a publisher of large-format and high-quality illustrated books. Started by the commercial printer Bikash De Niyogi in 2005, the publishing house is recognized for its diverse range of high-grade books from history, heritage, art, photography, culture, travel, and textile. These books have won several awards and prizes, nationally as well as internationally, including many from the Federation of Indian Publishers. Although India is the main market for these books, Niyogi Books has distributors in the US, UK, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, and even Pakistan.
On asking about how competitive he is as a publisher, Niyogi explains, ‘The reader circle is not always ready to buy expensive books, but with our modern in-house printing capabilities, we can provide readers with high-quality, hard-bound books with full colour on coated paper at more economical prices. In-house printing gives a leverage to publishers, as it is cost-effective and time-saving with no middleman between the publisher and the printer. With more than 75 of his own new books each year and several reprints, Bikash Niyogi remains quite thoroughly engaged.
On its forthcoming annual day, 9 January 2019, Niyogi Books will launch twelve new books in Hindi for the first time under the new imprint ‘Bahuvachan’. These are M.F. Husain: Kala Ka Karmayogi, Zohra Segal: ‘Fatty’, Dagar Va Dhrupad: Divya Virasat, Bismillah Khan: Banaras Ke Ustad, Antarctica: Bharat Ki Himani Mahadweep Ke Liye Yatra, Sariska: Baagh Sanrakshit Shetra Mein Phir Se Goonji Dahaad, Dilli Ke Aitihasik Gurudware, Kumbh Mela: Ek Shanik Mahanagar Ka Pratichitran, Rajasthan Ki Thali: Paushtik. Swadisht. Saral, Awadh ke Zayke: Shahi Daawat Se Ghar Ki Rasoi Tak Ka Safar, Apne Bacchon Ko Kaise Khilayein (Aur Iska Lutf Le), and Bharat Ke Shastriya Nritya: Navjagran Aur Uske Baad.
When asked about the challenges in Hindi publishing, Niyogi says, “To find a good Hindi translator is a tough job. In English, there are many proofreading software, but there are hardly any in Hindi. But keeping Hindi readers in mind, we are exploring and developing our Hindi publications.”
To maintain good-quality production to match the international standards, automation is a must. Since there is a lack of enough skilled manpower, automation is the way to move forward. Niyogi Offset has around 150 machines from pre-press to printing and post-press operations, and it is now relying more and more on automation for better productivity as well as quality.
Talking about the book-printing industry, Niyogi comments, “Over the years, the profit for printers has diminished. Fourteen years ago when I joined the book industry, profit was good; now it has reduced to almost half.’ He significantly mentions digitalization as one of the causes.
Regarding the cost of paper, Niyogi is of the opinion that the prices are volatile owing to several factors. ‘India imports paper, and as the paper demand is high, the price hikes depend on the international market along with GST. This has led to rise in the price of books. The fluctuation in rupee value has also influenced the fluctuation in paper prices. However, it’s not the first time that paper prices have gone up dramatically (they went up similarly in the 1990s). Increase in paper buyers and shortage of pulp also raise the cost.
“Last but not the least, I would like to say that though readership is increasing, printed books do demand a lot of space. People owning small houses and flats don’t have much space to store these books. So the medium of readership might be changing with the coming of digital books and audio books. We don’t mind the change in medium as long as the readership is there.”