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Demonetization has certainly affected retail businesses, but in a strange twist, I think it has been a saviour for Indian publishers.
This article is in response to a recently published piece in The Indian Express.
Almost everyone related to the publishing industry, be it authors, publishers, marketers, distributors, retailers or even book cafes were waiting for a miracle to save the industry from sinking and before they’d given up all the hope, the demonetization exercise might be working as a saviour.
Before I go ahead elaborating how this move should come across as a welcome one by the Indian publishing industry, let us look back on how black money was eating up a major share of the authors’ or the publishers’ income.
India has an economy which loves to wheel on discounts and these discounts were getting further greased by black marketing. All over the country, there are plenty of markets which are famed for selling pirated books; for instance, Dariya Ganj (Delhi), Nayi Sarak (Delhi) or Avenue Road (Bangalore). You could get a 1000-rupee bestseller for as low as 200 or even less, all payments in cash, mind you.
Not just the markets, you would find a lot of websites, too, which would be giving away the PDFs of popular books for free! This could be a nice method to earn through the ads they would be sporting on their websites, but a very bad move for the author, alas!
A lot of publishers face these problems with their bestsellers; I remember that one of the international publishers I was working with wreaked havoc inside the organization when they found out the pirated version of one of their recently launched bestsellers selling for half the price they were offering! Further, there was absolutely no way for stopping the copies from getting distributed amongst the students.
Now, considering the big move the Indian government has made, the publishing industry is finally hoping to regain their lost share of profits and reconsider their thoughts of adding other sources of generating revenue to their existing platter. With less cash in hand and even lesser options of getting it, people are left with no alternative but purchasing books from authentic sources where they could swipe their cards (the places which guarantee a percentage of the selling price to the publishers).
The e-commerce market has developed as a mecca for all the book lovers who are now compelled to use their Credit/Debit cards to make the payments. Popular online booksellers like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm or Snapdeal are speculated to have their sales figures in the books segment improve. True, even the brick-and-mortar bookstores like Crossword or WH Smith should notice a bullish trend in their sales in Q4, 2016.
Not that this was their first choice but readers are left with no option other than saving the new currency they might have obtained standing outside the banks for hours and paying in white.
Furthermore, there has emerged a new medium of book reading, which was previously ignored but now is being rooted for – eBooks. Their easy availability, on-demand service, smooth payment gateways, interactive UIs and paper-like qualities have made them a new hit among the book lovers. The fact that eBooks are, on an average, 30% cheaper than their print counterparts has bagged them cheers from everyone who had never even tried them before.
So, to sum it all, demonetization should make bibliophiles look out for the options where they are not supposed to spend whatever little tenner, fifty or hundred-rupee notes they are left with and, therefore, the dawn of digital reading or online ordering should finally set in! At the least, they should now no longer even look at the pirated content which was earlier fuelling black marketing in the publishing industry and shrinking the earnings of everyone from the publishing family.
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Published here earlier.
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