It’s time the government does something for issues that have been distressing the publishing community for so long…
Especially in the wake of Covid-19, these issues have been a constant source of turmoil and disturbance for publishers, authors. Not to mention, the huge losses that the industry bears for major concerns like these to go unnoticed.
Here I’ll be talking about the terrible two, that have caused a lot of upset on my part as well.
NCERT Textbooks Only
The compulsory enforcement on NCERT books by the government in schools is a huge problem for academic publishers. Excessive emphasis on highly subsidized NCERT/SCERT textbooks is justified by saying that the ‘student must be relieved of the extra burden of reference materials’ and should be ideally refrained from.
However, this course of action kills the business of private academic publishers and authors whose books have readily equipped students with necessary study material. The primary mandate of NCERT and SCERTS is to develop school syllabus, teacher training and model textbooks. The commercial publishing of books based on model textbooks should be left alone for private publishers to deal with.
This will not keep the academic publishing ecosystem, well and thriving but only offer a diverse range of options to its students.
It’s only fair to give them the opportunity to choose the most appropriate study option of all.
Issuance of ISBNS to publishers
Another crisis that has been slowly unfolding in the industry has created a scarcity of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs). The Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency- which functions under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and is responsible for issuance of ISBNs has not been able to effectively facilitate the process. The digitalisation of the process has become the root cause of this problem. Earlier a publisher who used to be issued at 1000 numbers are now only being given 10 ISBNs, this has resulted in huge monetary losses. I request the government to look into this matter and share some guidelines and norms for the issuance of ISBNS to existing publishers indicating the situation right now is not satisfactory.
I urge that these matters be considered seriously and a stringent measure be devised to elevate the publishing community.