Shobhaa De Books, Penguin India’s new imprint, is unlike any other—not just in India, but also in the world. Indian publishing notches up another first as this is the first instance of a publisher tying up with a celebrity for a new imprint. And the man responsible is unsurprisingly privy to what will be the shape of publishing in the near future. As head of one the largest publishing empires of the world, chairman and chief executive of the Penguin Group, John Makinson is one step ahead of what the global publishing industry is seeking to achieve. In India to launch the imprint, Makinson spoke to Suman Tarafdar on the global outlook for a post-Harry Potter publishing scenario, the peculiarities of the Indian market and the changing shape of the book itself. Excepts:
With Shobhaa De Books, Penguin takes another step forward in India. What are the terms of this agreement and what is this step about?
Penguin has been in India for much longer than many other publishers. We have been growing at about 20-25% annually. We have always pushed boundaries, and this is another step in that direction. We are creating a new publishing identity—the first in which a celebrity ties up with a publisher. What we are hoping to do is reach across barriers. Shobhaa De has been a friend for a long time, her association with Penguin has been very successful, and this is a logical step ahead. She is excited about the prospect, which will see her choosing the kind of people she wants. The focus is going to be on personality, lifestyle, business, cinema and commercial fiction. This is the territory currently occupied by newspapers, magazines, etc. We completely judge her instructs. Penguin has a financial arrangement with her, whose details I am not disclosing. However, Penguin will have a small hub in Mumbai to assist her, besides the Delhi office. Also, in this list we are going to be very selective and just may have six books to start with. We want the list to be known for its quality.
Full interview here Financial Express