Indian readers seem to be on a romance over-run. Harlequin Enterprises, the publishers of the Mills & Boon brand of romance fiction, which claim its sales volume in India has been rising 10 per cent every quarter over the last couple of years, views the country as its “largest potential overseas market”.
“India sales has more than doubled in the last two years and the country has the potential to get into our top five markets in five years,” says Mr Manish Singh, Country Manager, Harlequin Mills & Boon, pointing out favourable factors such as economic prosperity, increasing urbanisation and growth in modern retail.
Today, North America, the UK, and even Japan (thanks to the digital edition in Japanese) figure in the top five markets for Harlequin. India currently features in the top 10 markets for the publisher.
After the company started its Indian operations in 2008, with its own printing and marketing, the Indian reader no longer needed to wait for six months (sometimes even longer) for the imported edition. Currently, 14 titles are released every month in the country, simultaneously with their global launch. Local printing has also allowed prices to come down by 50-60 per cent, making Mills & Boon an “affordable” “recession-proof” product, says Mr Singh. “At price points of Rs 99 and Rs 125, these novels have become an impulse buy today,” he says.
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