Into its sixth year, Bloomsbury India aims for a million sales

Into its sixth year, Bloomsbury India aims for a million sales

By BHUMIKA POPLI | | 23 September, 2017
Bloomsbury India, Harry Potter, George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo, William Dalrymple,  J.K. Rowling, Yogesh Sharma
In September 2012, Bloomsbury India set up shop in a tiny office space in Delhi with a four-member team. Today, it’s one of the leading international publishers in the country, writes Bhumika Popli.

After completing five years in the publishing industry, Bloomsbury India is looking towards a brighter future. “We are confident of achieving sales of a million units this year spurred by high growth in sales of the Harry Potter series, significant contribution from bestsellers like Shiv Khera’s You Can Win, the Khlaed Hosseini titles, and high sales of new and forthcoming bestsellers like Monk Who Became Chief Minister, and the Booker-shortlisted Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders,” Rajiv Beri, Managing Director, Bloomsbury Publishing, told Guardian 20.  

Launched on 21 September 2012, Bloomsbury’s India wing recently completed five years in a very competitive and cut-throat publishing scene. In this span, the publishing house brought out a series of remarkable titles in various categories, including fiction, non-Fiction, children’s books, academic titles, as well as popular books on business and education, by both Indian and international authors. Though the company is one of the youngest publishing houses in the country, it has grown, according to reports, by a rate of around 25% in the last half decade.

The company marked its arrival in the country with books like Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan by William Dalrymple, the first Wisden India Almanack 2013, Manil Suri’s novel The City of Devi, and within a short span of time acquired the publishing rights for Shiv Khera, whose books have sold around four million copies.

Bloomsbury India’s publishing list also includes bestselling and award-winning writers such as Kamila Shamsie, Vikas Khanna, Raj Kamal Jha, Shrabani Basu, Anil Menon, Amrita Shah, Anand Ranganathan and Sandip Roy to name a few. Its international catalogue features names like J.K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert, Daniel Goleman, George Saunders, Nobel prize-winning authors Nadine Gordimer and Patrick Modiano, Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood; Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Kolbert, Orange Prize winners Madeline Miller and Anne Michaels. 

Bloomsbury’s business in India started with a team of four people in a tiny office space in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. And now, the company has expanded to a team of 40 professionals. Talking about the brand’s journey so far, Rajiv Beri, said, “When we started in 2012 we were a band of four entrepreneurs. There was multi-tasking, firefighting, overcoming odds. And now we are a team of 40 people, have a smart new office with sufficient expansion possibilities, and have talented and committed staff passionate about making us among the top respected, valued, high growth companies in our sector.”

Yogesh Sharma, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Bloomsbury India spoke to Guardian 20 about his ongoing journey with the publication. He said, “It’s been a great journey since we launched our operations in 2012. The transition in these years has been truly remarkable. In 2012, we were the only major company still working through agents in India. When we started, our office for the first three years was small and modest with staff seated almost on top of each other and we handled a relatively low volume of business. With strong sales, marketing and editorial divisions in operation, we are now a force to reckon with in the industry. In 2016, our market share grew almost by 50% over 2015 in the trade segment and we were the fastest growing children’s publisher in the market.”
He further added: “While we’ve fared much better than the industry average in the trade segment, we’ve also established the Bloomsbury brand in the academic segment and have launched a professional publishing division for building a list of tax and accounting titles. We are going from strength to strength and there’s so much to look forward to in the coming years.”

On its inception, the publishing house had launched 49 India-specific titles, and it is now producing 120 titles here in a variety of genres.

“The company marked its arrival in the country with books like Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan by William Dalrymple, the first Wisden India Almanack 2013, Manil Suri’s novel The City of Devi, and within a short span of time acquired the publishing rights for Shiv Khera, whose books have sold around four million copies.”
Bloomsbury India’s publishing list for the coming year includes books like the autobiographies of Sheila Dixit, Delhi’s ex-chief minister, and of Yashwant Sinha, India’s former finance minister; Red Birds, the most-awaited new novel by Mohammed Hanif; Shiv Khera’s You Can Achieve More; and Justice Katju’s Wither Indian Judiciary.

The academic division of the publishing house brings out more than 1,200 books a year, with a significant presence in the humanities, social sciences and visual arts. Its acquisitions over the last few years include coveted lists such as Methuen Drama, The Arden Shakespeare, T&T Clark and Fairchild, which were all market leaders in their respective segments. Bloomsbury has also been awarded by The Federation of Indian Publishers on numerous occasions for the production quality of its books.

“We have succeeded in making a place for ourselves among the large, already established publishing groups.” said Rajiv Beri. “We do not have barriers in attracting talent and authors, and we are looked at as a company to be trusted. But we are working towards establishing a fundamentally strong company which lasts and offers a secure and profitable long term growth path. For us the journey has just begun.”

 

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