All About Book Publishing
TCA Srinivasa Raghavan
PUBLISHERS ON PUBLISHING: INSIDE INDIA’S BOOK BUSINESS by Nitasha Devasar All About Publishing, 2018, 304 pp., 450
December 2018, volume 42, No 12

Publishing generally, and Indian publishing, in particular has fascinated me ever since I worked in a publishing company as an editor in the latter half of the 1970s. The fascination rose from its unique nature: it is the only industry that is characterized by what economists call perfect competition, meaning anyone can enter the industry; where no individual producer can influence anything in the market; and where the risks are as high as in the horse or dog racing industry.

But there the similarities end because although free entry means that it is, by and large, a cottage industry; it is the only industry in the world where every product is different from the previous one, where no one knows which of these million products will succeed commercially and at what price and why. Indeed, in many ways, it is a business in which the saying ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ is particular apt.

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