Greetings To All Our Fellow Publishers!
We, as a part of this Fraternity, are at the crossroads of an unprecedented ordeal.
In the past fews years, we have had to grapple with floods, cyclones, demonetization and GST, among other challenges. Before we could even latch on to any kind of support, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us closer than ever to the brink of collapse.
The pandemic has made certain irreversible changes in the lives of people throughout the world, and we are no exception. Given the gravity of the situation, we will have to let go of certain conventions and adapt to the new normal.
A business entity must inevitably equip itself in accordance to changing times, and ease of operation becomes paramount. For an industry that has survived two World Wars, countless calamities and economic crises, the kind of changes that have taken place in the last few months have been radical. While it is too early to predict where these changes will lead us, it is quite clear that even the remotest possibility of revamping the book fairs have been ruled out.
It is almost certain that we all anticipate a huge slump in our sales trajectories. Something quite radical has to be done if we are to keep ourselves afloat.
This is what has brought us together to devise an alternate business model that would set the ball rolling slowly but steadily. Considering the dent that the lockdowns have left in our supply chain management, going online is the most feasible way to function right now.
Those publishers with an adequate website capable of processing payments would have already realized the potential. Some are even adept at using social media to sell their products, without a website. But the majority of us publishers rely too heavily on e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart, who have frozen their inventory except for the essentials, to sell their books.
Instead of finding a quick fix for our problems, the publishing industry needs to build something concrete using our collective customer bases. Riding this wave by embracing technology will make us more resilient as a community.
One cannot deny the fact that the effort and cost that goes into building a robust marketplace, capable of accommodating a lot of publishers, is immense. But as a token of gratitude for our chosen trade, we decided to stick together until this idea takes shape and SMEs do the needful in driving it to fruition. Everyone belonging to the publishing ecosystem stands to benefit from this – readers, publishers and sellers.
To start with, this site will provide a one-stop solution for publishers by giving a virtual storefront (website) that emulates the feel of a book fair, through site navigation and activities. Though the ultimate objective is to build a nationwide selling network, we are also conscious of realizing it without losing out on the individuality of every publisher - irrespective of size, language, or any other parameter.
There will be a set of customizations that could be done by each publisher in their storefront: putting up banners, altering the display (for now 2d) like in a physical book fair and others. The site will have inbuilt functionalities that give space for reviews and literary activities with the social media plug-ins. Based on sustainable support from you, we can extend the base to a fully virtual (3d) – user experience.
We wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to become our primary source of income in the coming years!
The subscription plans are worked out in such a way that, irrespective of the slab chosen, the amount that each publisher shells out for a single title annually is more or less uniform. The net amount for every slab is nominal, especially when compared to building a website with payment gateway integration from the scratch. Moreover, the built-in functionalities of the marketplace will be so sophisticated that there can be no comparison to an independent site.
Subscriptions will be processed on a first come first serve basis. To avail the early bird advantage, make sure your applications reach us before the cutoff date. Discounts in rates slabs won’t be available after the cutoff date.
We will keep you posted on the subsequent steps in our follow up emails. Please read them carefully and make sure that all your clarifications are raised and that suggestions are put forth. We will collate them, track them, and respond to them collectively by creating an FAQ section.
We are also building a unique app-based content management system so that people who don’t have soft copies of the books, wrapper images, or catalog in Excel can key in everything from their mobile.
For any further assistance, please do reach out to us.
Come Let’s Get Together In Setting
The Wagon To Motion!
VBF is a collective effort by the publishers to strengthen the future of the book publishing industry and an alternative solution to present and future challenges. In the Information era, digital presence is mandatory, the growing trend of making information available at the click of a finger helps every business that has adapted to technology, a successful venture. Amazon, swiggy are successful because they understand the customer's needs and setup up their service. For long readers have had difficulty in finding the book they are looking for and many publishers have not been successful in informing the readers of their available books. The publishers and readers understand each other better during the book fairs, we wanted to provide a platform that connects everyone under one roof, vbf is one such initiative. This is why we say we are not in competition with any organization rather we are an extension to their effort.
VBF will be the most helpful platform for all publishers and sellers. We will be having blogs, reviews, author meetings only to make the reader enjoy the books more. The ease of use will only bring in more business for publishers. The VBF shortly will break the trend of publishers depending on Book fairs and library orders for their survival. A good book need not be a Hard sell if the information was made available in the right place. The VBF platform will host all the Information an author or publisher would need to get the book published and reach potential customers at the click of a button.
- Murali kannadhason, The Write Publishing
Be it brick and mortar retail chain or an e-commerce site – books have been one of the first commodities that set the ball rolling. It is because of its sheer diversity and the catalog size that gives them the precedence. But once the shop or website gets traction, the verticals across which sale happens expand, and eventually the shelf space for books shrinks because of the ROI.
The pandemic has left our supply chain completely bamboozled. In restructuring the system, books as a non-essential commodity are buried at the bottom of the pyramid. Virtual book fair aims to solve this problem by replicating the features of a regular physical book fair virtually.
Beyond physical book sale, the VBF will also function as an aggregator for digital content, as a dedicated review space, potential rights corridor, a place for booksellers, artists, translators, printers, designers, or any other technician who is associated to the publishing industry.
The Indian Virtual book Fair LLP is a SaaS company by the publishers and for the publishers. VBF will work with various bookfair and publishing associations pan India as an extension of the physical book fairs and lit fests they host.
- Karthikeyan Pugalendi, Vanavil Puthakalayam
S.R. Sundaram (aka Kannan Sundaram: - born 1965) is the Managing Director and Publisher of Kalachuvadu Publication Pvt Ltd. He is also the Editor and Publisher of Kalachuvadu, a monthly journal for culture and politics. He co-organised ‘Tamil Ini 2000′, the international Tamil conference on 20th century Tamil writing. He has been on the International Visitor Program to the U.S (2002), the Frankfurt Book Fair fellowship program (2007), Visiting International Publisher program in Sydney in 2017 and Istanbul Fellowship in 2020. French Book Office in India has invited him twice to Livre Paris. He has been invited to programs and seminars in Istanbul, Oslo and Sharjah.
He has published six Tamil books consisting of critical articles on Tamil media, Publishing and politics. His English articles have been published in The Hindu, EPW and Scroll.
Kalachuvadu was awarded the Best Publisher Award by Publishing Next (2018) and Romain Rolland award for best translation from French to an Indian language (2018). It won Federation of India Publishers Best book production award (2019).
Gandhi Kannadhasan is the eldest son of erudite Tamil Poet and Film Lyricist Kaviarasar Kannadhasan.
He practiced Law for five years and later joined as Assistant Manager in HMV – The Audio multinational and also some stint in Gemini Color Laboratories and T.Series in Audio business.
These jobs brought him in touch with the stalwarts in Music Industry, like Smt.M.S.Subbulakshmi and all that are concerned.
Kannadhasan Pathippagam was founded by Kaviarasu in 1978. And in 1984 it was revived with a vigor to establish as a leading Tamil Books Publisher and the same was achieved in six years – Gandhi took over and started publishing the Tamil books of Kaviarasar.
In publishing he published Dr.A.P.J. Abdula Kalam and Osho. A pioneer in self help books translated from English, which include the Authors like Napoleon Hill, Kopmeyer, Orison Swett Marden, and a host of others. The best of English novels of Agatha Christie and James Hadley Chase and Computer books in Tamil and also Audio Books and Digital books. A pioneer in Audio books and eBooks and Kannadhasan Pathippagam is still a leader in both these sectors of Tamil publishing.
The credit of selling Dr.Kalm’s auto- biography in Tamil with five lakh copies and Gandhi was a close associate of the former President of India.
Kannadhasan’s books on Hindusim so far is the number one seller with all the Book Sellers. As the format changing and newly added material, and different style changes and market push at the right time is stabilizing this Magnum Opus as number ONE.
In 2007 Kannadhasan Pathippagam was awarded as a " Best Regional Language Publisher' by the Federation of Publishers' and Booksellers' Associations in India- FPBAI- New Delhi.
Same year was awarded with ' All India Best Publisher ' by the Federation of Indian Publishers- FIP - New Delhi.
The Innovation in conducting the Chennai Book Fair attracted a lot of facilities by the Government of Tamil Nadu. CBF overtook all other Book Fairs in India other than Calcutta Book Fair.
Mr.Gandhi Kannadhasan was the President for three times of BAPASI – That conducts the Chennai Book Fair. His shift of the venue from Arts College to St.George’s made the fair a grand success in 2007.
He also started the Madurai Book Fair and the Coimbatore Book Fair, on behalf of BAPASI that still goes very strong.
Twice and at Present he is the Vice President of The Federation of Publishers' and Book Sellers' Associations in India, New Delhi - www.fpbai.org
His mission is to see that each and every home with a Library. And Literacy to all. A global market for Tamil books is his chief goal, benefiting this publishing industry.