The Independent Book Seller's Guide to Books From India

books

 Contents

 Our Book Categories

 Introduction

 Our Publishers and Authors 

 Why Stock Books From India? 

 Well-known Indian Authors

 The Market for Indian Books

 How to Get Started

Introduction

India is home to one of the largest and most diverse publishing industries in the world. The 2013 census indicated a population of 1.252 billion people living in India itself. When the tens of millions of people of Indian descent living in the ‘diaspora’ communities of North America, UK, South Africa and Australia are taken into account, it will come as no surprise that India is a powerful and growing cultural force to be reckoned with in the world.

India’s population includes a self-confident, outward looking and rapidly-expanding middle class. These people are well educated, successful and literate, funding a growing publishing industry.

Since the 1990s, major American, British and European publishing houses have operated independent Indian divisions; including household names such as Random House, Penguin, Oxford University Press and Bloomsbury. There has also been a rapid expansion of exclusively Indian publishing companies, serving not only the internal market but also aiming books at a non-Indian readership in the English-speaking world.

Indian readers purchase books not only in their native Indian languages but also in English. In fact, most university-educated Indian graduates now choose to read primarily in English, and 1/4 of all University graduates worldwide now come from India.

The current trend is for Indian publishers to expand their markets to include English reading audiences worldwide. Some of this market includes Indian expats and descendants of Indian immigrants, but the vast majority are Europeans or others with no connection to India itself.

Motilal (UK) Books of India was set up to give the world’s reading public full access to the riches of the Indian publishing industry, providing the latest and best Indian books to individual buyers and academics, and independent booksellers everywhere.

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The Purpose of This Webpage

This webpage is aimed at independent booksellers in the UK, who may be new to the Indian publishing market or who are looking for a reliable source of Indian books at competitive trade prices.

We will give an overview of the Indian publishing business, including popular genres, authors and publishing houses. We will also explore why a growing segment of the British reading public is turning to Indian publications, not because they are Indian themselves, but simply because they enjoy reading good books!

We are now selling over 12,000 Indian published titles in the UK, every month.

We will also explain how we can help booksellers source high-quality Indian books, and what we can offer book sellers as a distribution partner.

About Motilal Books

At Motilal, we are the world’s largest independent distributor of Indian books outside India itself. We work with all the Indian publishing companies – ranging from household names to small, specialist outfits – to distribute an almost endless array of subjects, genres, and book titles. The books we distribute are primarily written in English, but some are translations from any of the Indian languages. We are also an informed supplier for English language publishers based in other South Asian countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Our Range of Titles

Our range of published titles includes more than 100,000 books from thousands of Indian publishers. We add to this roster at a rate of between 700 and 1,000 new titles each month; a figure that is itself indicative of the vibrancy of the Indian publishing business. We have an office in both the UK and Delhi, from which we export books on a weekly basis by air and by sea almost every month. At any time we hold between 10,000 and 20,000 titles in stock at our UK premises, from which trade customers can gain rapid access to all Indian publications through Ray’s Books Of India, our sister company. We maintain an active international presence and are regular visitors to the Delhi World Book Fair every February and exhibit at the London International Book Fair every year for the past 20 years.

We maintain an active international presence and are regular exhibitors at the Delhi World Book Fair every February and the London International Book Fair in April.

Retail Customers

Gardners currently carry approximately 3,000 Indian-published titles in their stock. You will also find our books in other online outlets, including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, John Smiths and the Book Depository.

Go to our website for more information. www.motilalbooks.com

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Why Stock Books From India?

Exports of books by Indian publishers have grown significantly in the five years between 2010 and 2015. Indian books are exported to 150 countries worldwide. Many of these are academic titles, but they also include trade titles on fiction, children’s books, romance and non-fiction books on religion, cookery, history, self help and much more.

For a British bookseller, there are a number of compelling reasons to stock Indian books:

Create a USP: With intense competition from online booksellers, independent bookshops frequently struggle to create a unique selling point that keeps their customers coming back. Becoming a stockist of Indian books automatically creates a new, different and fresh approach that customers will not find elsewhere.

Expand your stock list: the areas of spirituality, meditation and yoga are becoming enormously popular in the UK, not just among readers of the New Age genre, but also a wide market of general interest and business readers. India is home to several of the world’s most ancient religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Islam and Christianity are also widely represented in India.

Every year, Indian authors publish accessible and detailed studies on these religions and spiritual practices that are not found elsewhere. By establishing an expanded repertoire of books on meditation and religious studies, you give this growing market of readers the chance to browse through the best titles and a reason to make direct purchases from your shop.

Great prices: We understand that as an independent bookseller you have probably gone into business more for reasons of love than enormous profit. However, running costs, wages and overheads still need to be met. Our relationships with Indian publishers enable us to purchase books at trade prices, allowing us to pass on our savings to our customers. We can, therefore, offer independent booksellers a fantastic 35% discount on both trade and academic titles. This allows you to reap a healthy margin on your book sales while still providing your customers with competitive prices on a wide range of titles. All sales will be on a sale or return basis.

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The Market for Indian Books

A question we are frequently asked is ‘Who buys Indian books?’ A common misconception is that the UK market for Indian books is mainly restricted to Indian expats or people of Indian descent. Therefore, for bookshops in areas where there is small or no Indian population, there appears to be little incentive to stock Indian books.

This could not be further from the truth…

As mentioned above, a wide cross-section of the UK’s book reading population enjoys books on spirituality and meditation; genres that are covered by the Indian publishing industry in a depth not found elsewhere. However, Indian books are not restricted to these niche topics. Indian publishers produce books in an astonishingly varied range of genres.

Our extensive catalogue of Indian books is sure to include something for everybody, whether the reader is interested in romantic fiction, history, business strategy, academic textbooks, thriller or children’s literature.

Not just for Indian expats

In our 35 years of supplying UK booksellers with Indian books, we have come across no evidence that these books are being purchased primarily by Indians.

There is a long-standing joke among British-Asians that people from India speak and write in ‘Hinglish’, a form of broken English with syntax and words borrowed from Hindi or Punjabi. For the modern Indian publishing industry, this is simply untrue. The quality of writing and production of Indian publishers is world-class. The subjects can sometimes be uniquely from India, such as history, Himalayan studies, wildlife, architecture, cookery, Bollywood, politics and contemporary Islam.

A proof of this lies in the prevalence of academic texts produced by Indian publishers, which are sold to students and universities around the world. Oxford University Press, long renowned for being a bastion of perfect written English, operates one of its major publishing branches from India.

Indians and people of Indian descent do buy Indian books, so if your business operates in an area with a large Indian population, then you are sure to find an enthusiastic market among them.

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Our Book Categories

Indian publishers produce books on every conceivable topic and genre. In this section you will see an overview of a few of the most popular genres. There are many more that we haven’t mentioned here. If you’re interested in a particular topic or would like to search for books by publisher or author, by using Nielsen BookData to search for keywords you will find titles to suit every customer. If in doubt, please get in touch so we can help.

The most popular Indian books, categories and titles are changing all the time. Every 2 weeks, we receive a sales summary informing us of the top-selling Indian titles and of any new books that have come into the charts. For specialist booksellers we can keep you informed about the top authors and titles in your target genre, so you can always keep up-to-date with the most commercial titles the Indian book market offers each month.

Yoga & Meditation

ndian authors write informative books on yoga and meditation each year. Our E-catalogue includes topics from all the different spiritual traditions of India (over 2,000). The best selling titles fall under the Bihar School of Yoga. We also stock books covering the disciplines of yoga, breathing, Ayurveda, architecture, and classics like Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita.

Buddhism

As one of the fastest growing religions in the West, we distribute hundreds of books dealing with Buddhist spirituality and practice, biographies of the Buddha, folklore, Sacred Scriptures, Buddhist architecture, meditative techniques, history and places of pilgrimage. All main Buddhist traditions are covered, including Zen, Tibetan, Mahayana and Theravada.

Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma)

Popularly known as ‘Hinduism’ outside of India, the name given to this religious path by devotees is the Sanatana Dharma. Books about Indian Gods, legends, dietary practices, traditional medicine and Feng Shui, known as Vastu, are popular in the UK. We stock titles that deal with life disciplines, the Upanishads, Vedas and Puranas, as well as comics, children’s literature and translations of classics from Sanskrit.

Indian History

Our catalogue of books features classic and contemporary studies of Indian history aimed at both an academic and popular audience. Topics include the Mughal Empire, Vedic History, Colonial India and contemporary history.

Cookery

Indian food is popular the world over, especially in the UK, where curry is widely recognised as the national dish. Indian publishers have made the recipes and techniques of famous TV chefs such as Sanjeev Kapoor, Nita Mehta and Tarla Daylal widely available to a non-Indian readership. Books by modern Indian chefs, such as participants in MasterChef India, can also be ordered through our new title service.

Academic and Educational

India has a thriving university network of more than 300 universities and colleges of higher education producing a quarter of all the world’s graduates. India is now well known for publishing thousands of high-quality academic texts each year. Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press have a division based in India that produces specialist titles. India also publishes a number of specialist English language teaching courses and both primary and secondary school titles.

Popular academic subjects with books on medicine, computer science, engineering are nearly always cheaper form India than from the UK or Western publishers’ titles on the same subjects.

Indian Fiction

English language titles by Indian authors have grown in popularity over the past few years, gaining acclaim and wide sales. Award-winning authors such as Jhumpa Lahiri (The Namesake), Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things) and Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss) have done much to popularise Indian fiction with a non-Indian readership in the UK, but new authors like Devdutt Pattnaik, Neel Mukherjee and Rujuta Diwekar who also sell really well.

Children’s Books

India has an enormous market for children’s literature and her outpouring of children’s books has proved popular around the world. English-language Indian publishers cover topics aimed at children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Themes address family, interpersonal relationships, adventures and coming-of-age issues, as well as stories drawn from traditional Indian folklore and religious symbolism.

Politics (Indian and International)

Indian publishers produce many new titles on Indian and international political issues each year, including terrorism, military history, security and intelligence, much of it with Pakistan and China in mind.

Other Genres

Indian authors do not restrict their writing endeavours to these topics. In addition to these genres, we stock topics covering travel writing, trekking, business coaching, wildlife, holy places, religious studies, the Jihad philosophy, environmental conservation, socialism, the market economy, and of course, cricket.

Many independent booksellers order titles not by genre, but by publisher or author. In the next section we will have a look at some major Indian publishing houses, and how Indian authors have broken away from the domestic market and are starting to make a major impact on the world stage.

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motilal books

Our Publishers and Authors

This section is not intended to be a complete directory of our publishers and authors – we currently work with more than 7,500 publishing businesses – but to give booksellers an idea of the range of material and topics we offer to our customers.

Publishers

We distribute titles from all of India’s major publishing companies, as well as independent imprints and books published by government departments and universities, not to mention those from Ashrams, monasteries and self-published authors in all fields. India is home to some heavyweight publishing houses that produce high-quality publications for both the internal and international market. These are just a few of the big players we work with on a regular basis. A more complete overview of Indian publishers can be found on the website of the Association of Publishers in India, and the list is growing daily.

Penguin Random House India

As India’s longest-established English language publisher, Penguin Random House has an impressive in-print back catalogue of more than 3,000 titles, with 250 more being added each year. Established in 1985, PRH has since become the publishing partner for a number of other well-known international publishing houses in the region, including Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Icon, OneWorld, Faber, Random House, Pearson and several local leading publishers.

In 2005, Penguin Random House created an Indian language division and now publishes books in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Urdu, as well as in English. We keep in stock only the major translations of titles like Harry Potter, Autobiography of a Yogi, The Secret, and The Bhagavad Gita.

HarperCollins Publishers India

HarperCollins publish a roster of high-quality fiction and non-fiction titles from some of India’s best-known authors. They boast an extensive back catalogue of spiritual and meditation titles which are added to each month. HarperCollins is also a source of popular biographies and guides from successful entrepreneurs and business gurus, including Aparna Jarin and Subhash Chandra. They also publish a selection of travel books and travelogues.

There are several other very good independent publishers releasing titles by new authors. Some of the best are Vitasta, Westland, Full Circle, Jaico, Rupa, Manjul, and Orient Paperbacks. Academic publishers such as S. Chand, PhI Laxmi, Orient Black Swan, BPB and Manohara, to name but a few, are also strong players.

Indology Publishers

Indology Publishers The study of things uniquely Indian (known as Indology) is covered by publishers such as The Yoga Publications Trust, Motilal Banarsidass, Munshiram, Parimal and The Divine Life Society.

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Well-known Indian Authors

Subscribe to our publishers advance information/new titles list, every month we will email you with new title lists with UK prices. Indian authors have become some of the most influential writers in their respective genres. Many write primarily in English, opening up Indian culture and literature to a wide audience around the world. Others have written in Indian languages and have their work available in accurate translations.

Among the many well-known, award-winning Indian and Indian diaspora writers distributed by Motilal books are the following authors:

Shobha De: The erudite and prolific Shobha De has been hailed as the Indian Jackie Collins by some commentators. She is the author of four novels in English, including Starry Nights and Sister and Spouse. De is also a regular journalist, publishing regular columns in UK journal The Week.

Ravi Subramanian: A fiction author who writes political thrillers with a special focus on banking and the international financial world. His novels The Incredible Banker and The Bankster have won the Crossword Book Awards.

Ashwin Sanghi: Author of a number of popular business coaching titles aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs, including Boards that Deliver and What the CEO Wants You to Know.

Vikram Seth: A travel writer, novelist and poet. Seth is a popular writer both in India and abroad. He is recipient of the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. His debut novel ‘A Suitable Boy’ won critical acclaim around the world in 1997.

Jhumpa Lahiri: One of a new generation of Indian female fiction writers, Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories landed her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Rashmi Bansal: Beginning her writing career as a business blogger, providing entrepreneurial hints and tips to young inventors, Bansal became a popular journalist and novelist with a wide Indian and non-Indian readership.

Tarla Dalal: As one of India’s best-loved cookery authors, Dalal’s down-to earth, family-focused vegetarian cookbooks have all been translated into English and have to date sold more than four million copies. In 1997, Dalal was awarded the Padma Shri award for services to Indian cookery.

Munshi Premchand: In a literary world where the majority of novels are published in English, Premchand worked hard to retain the dynamism of modern Hindi and Urdu literature. His works, when translated into English, are remarkable for their simple and beautiful descriptions, compelling plots and empathic, believable characters.

Nikita Singh: Writes gritty and amusing fiction aimed at the millennial generation. Singh is the author of nine books, having begun writing for pleasure while completing her degree in pharmacy.

Order Books By Publisher, Isdn, Title Or Author

The above are just a small sample of the authors and publishers we have available to independent booksellers. For help finding Indian books by genre, or to search for a specific Indian publication, use Nielsen BookData. Google searches by keywords will often bring results as well. We also offer a free, searchable stock list and rapid shipments by courier throughout the UK. Visit our website for further details.

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How to Get Started

To start ordering high-quality Indian books on all possible subjects, all you need to do is get in touch through our online contact form, and we’ll set you up with a trading account.

After this, you can place orders any time you like by checking the titles you need through Nielsen’s BookData and their teleorder service. We offer our customers daily shipments, with 30-day payment terms and the option of sale or return on all stock for up to twelve months from the invoice date. This offer can also be used by bookshops worldwide but without free delivery or an automatic 30-day credit facility.

For more information, please take a look through our website, or send us an email to barbara@motilalbooks.com

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