Despite a growing domestic market and increasing exports, Indian book publishers are concerned over the ‘invasion’ by their foreign counterparts and have demanded that the government scrap the foreign direct investment (FDI) in the industry.
‘We demand the government scrap the FDI in the business of publishing to give a breathing space to Indian publishers,’ Anand Bhushan, advisor and former chairman of the New Delhi-based Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP), told IANS here.
The government allowed 100 percent FDI in book publishing in 2000. The domestic industry has been seeking a reversal of the policy ever since.
‘Foreign publishers have big capital and full support from their governments. They have badly invaded the Indian market and Indian publishers cannot compete with them,’ he said.
According to official figures, book exports increased from Rs.800 million in 1998 to Rs.12 billion in 2008.
However, publishers are not impressed with the growth in exports.
‘Despite this huge figure, we stand nowhere in the international market. This figure is just a fraction if we compare it with the number of books exported from countries like the US, Canada, Russia and the UK,’ Harish Jain, owner of 28-year-old city-based Unistar Books Publishers, told IANS.Even the government does not give enough importance to the publishing industry, he said. ‘In countries like Russia, there is a separate ministry of book publishing that takes care of publishers’ interests,’ Jain said.
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