India’s Business Books Take Off
Whether it’s a large chain retailer or the smallest bookstall at an airport departure gate, Indian bookshops all have one thing in common — the predominance of business and management titles.
English-language biographies of leading business figures and self-help books about how to make a fortune pack the shelves, tapping an apparent thirst for success and self-improvement in the fast-growing South Asian nation.
“Business books are very important to us,” said Sonal Gandhi, head buyer at the leading chain Crossword, which has 86 stores across India.
“It’s the more populist ones that really sell. We don’t really do a lot of technical stuff. But we do business management, self-help books, a lot of biographies, which sell a lot,” she told AFP.
But Nielsen BookScan, which tracks retail sales, said the value of the business publishing sector grew at a rate of more than 25 percent from the second to third quarter of the current financial year.
The overall market increased at a rate of 18 percent value-wise in the same period.Nielsen BookScan estimates that it tracks more than a third of all English-language Indian trade book sales, using data from retailers including Landmark, Crossword and the online book, film and music store Flipkart.
“Business books are important because they command a higher retail price as compared to other genres like fiction or self-help and still generate good volumes because the target audience is upwardly mobile and affluent,” he said.
“Some business books in hardcover have print runs higher than best-selling fiction titles in the same format.”
Krishan Chopra, publisher and chief editor non-fiction at HarperCollins India and Collins Business, said the phenomenon mirrors India’s expanding economy, as well as a shift in attitudes towards success and money.
“It’s part of the growth story,” he said.