Started way back in 1958 by Shri Shyam Sundar Ji in New Delhi with just one book and cash capital of just 100 rupees, Prabhat Prakashan has come a long way in the ensuing six decades. From holding the pole position in terms of quality in the traditional publishing in India to becoming the first and the foremost producer of Hindi e-books, Prabhat Prakashan has been putting relentless efforts in taking the quality content to the readers.
With more than 800 writers and a vast network of more than 1000 distributors, Prabhat is catering to the needs of millions of students through more than 8500 titles. Of the average 350 titles added each year to their multi genred catalogue, Prabhat provides space to at least 40 new authors as well.
The grade ‘A’ quality printers, in-house R&D and an able team of editors, translators and proofreaders ensure the immaculate quality of Prabhat Books. Their intricate MIA flowcharts provide them with quality assurance when it comes to assessing manuscripts.
Their focus on high-quality content has brought them many accolades, such as being the first Hindi publisher to be felicitated with the ISO 9001:2008 certificate for achieving excellence in quality, and ICMR Star Brand India award. Prabhat has also been the recipient of the Best Publisher Award by the Federation of Indian Publishers for consecutive 20 years.
As the biggest digital Hindi publishers in the industry, Prabhat Prakashan aims to decrease the distance between the authors and readers.
Following is the latest interview Wonderpublish conducted with Dr Piyush Kumar, the owner of Prabhat Prakshan:
Q. Prabhat Prakashan is the very definition of Traditional Publishing in India, and after five decades of service what is it that keeps it going?
In our 60 years of experience in the publishing industry, our primary focus is aimed at providing every Hindi reader with the best books on all topics at affordable prices. We follow the same philosophy in the English books division as well.
Q. In this digital age, when the attention spans are getting increasingly shorter, how do you see Prabhat Prakashan going ahead?
With digitization and wide outreach of the internet we see a huge potential in the sale of our Hindi books through e-commerce portals. With e-commerce, we are able to reach the remotest villages of India. Over 8500 plus of our e-books are available on Kindle which is probably the largest collection of e-books by any Indian publisher on Kindle.
Q. How do you see the industry shaping up in the coming decades?
The industry is rapidly growing for two reasons. First being the wide outreach and access of internet and mobile revolution. And secondly, the government of India has invested and supported the growth of Adult Education and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in past 10-15 years which has generated a huge readership in India. Our country has over 60 million people who speak Hindi as their first language.
Q. What is the responsibility of a publisher in a society?
Publishers work as a torch for any society. There is a big responsibility on the shoulders of publishers. It is the choice of a publisher to publish a biography of Swami Vivekananda or to publish a biography of a notorious gangster. The choices of the publishing house determine the fabric of society.
Q. You have been awarded and felicitated by so many organizations, including ISO. Various surveys have given you the best of titles. Tell us the most important thing you’ve learned from your successes?
The most important thing that I have learnt can be described in 4 points.
- Always keep an eye on Internationally best-selling books for tie-ups and arrangement for the Hindi audience.
- Build up a strong dealer network for direct B2B selling of books.
- Strong marketing efforts on each book and author.
- Content is the king, so create the best content in the biggest manner.
Q. How do you tread the line between Hindi and English publishing?
We publish nearly 350 books every year, out of which 280 books are in Hindi, and the remaining 70 books are in English. Though we are very strong in the marketing of Hindi books segment, we are still acquiring the same strength in the realm of the English books. In this light, we are coming up with a more robust marketing plan for the promotion of English books.
Q. Prabhat has a vast array of books by the best of writers. But what catches the eye is the number of new writers that are given a chance each year. How do you feel about the younger crop of writers?
We give lot of preference to new authors or first-time authors. This is due to the fact that our editorial [team] is very strong and from the synopsis of a book we can judge whether this book would be a bestseller or not. Also, we consider charging the author for publishing his or her book a big crime. New authors have lot of potential. They are very technology savvy, and we are proud of them.
Q. One piece of advice for the people who want to work in the publishing industry?
Advice to young people coming in publishing. It is a very less paying job and you will have to be on your toes always. If you are ready to work over 15 hours a day, then you can think of coming into publishing.
Q. What is the next milestone for Prabhat Prakashan?
Our next milestone for the year 2023 is to have at least one bookseller stocking our English and Hindi books in every district of India. There are nearly 725 districts.
Q. Lastly, what’s next for Dr Piyush Kumar?
For me creating a big digital publishing company is the most important manifestation for the next 3 years.