Indian brands have been following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘vocal for local’ or localisation of a vision for a while now. Emphasising for a self-reliant or Atma nirbhar India, the government has asked that products not only be made in India, but also for the promotion of local brands, manufacturing and supply chain.
Taking the same cue, the Indian publishing industry too needs to revamp their selling pitch in order to garner more attention and support for the fraternity as well as from the readers.
Indian writing in its full form and diversity needs to come to the centre stage. Recently a lot of translated work has generated interest from book lovers who had long given up reading their mother tongues, sending a lot of translated word publishers into crunch.
But, as the lockdown set in, a lot of readers went back to the old classics that were buried in the shelves teasing their interest even more.
Currently what we all need is a digital platform (app or blog) that re-launches classic Indian works, acquaints readers with emerging Indian authors and prefers locally produced books/ journals.
The last decade was clearly dominated by academic publishers (books that cater to India’s twin passion : education and job-security). In comparison, the non-academic has only remained a miniscule. Owing to the fact that the retail space is shrinking for books and that most readers go by online or word-of-mouth recommendations for new books. The ‘discoverability’ of books has now become a huge factor determining sales.
Also, over the years they have gravitated towards genres that have a captive audience. Right now, what we lack is publicization of India publishing. A common platform or a membership service that caters to works of literature produced by Indian publishing ecosystem.
Hopefully, then we can expect ‘vocal for local’ to benefit Indian readers, writers and publishers.