Malcolm NeilPrashasti RastogiWith the seventh-largest national book publishing industry on earth, India annually produces nearly 100,000 books – its English-language book production places third, only behind the US and the UK. In New Delhi this coming February, the German Book Office’s five-year-old GLOBALOCAL industry conference welcomes Indian publishers, their colleagues from Asia and the Pacific, as well as publishers and technology vendors from around the world.

“Over the years, we have seen a constant need not only to exchange ideas, but also to do business. This side of the world has not been so aggressively in the B2B marketplace as Frankfurt and our other western counterparts have been,” explains Prashashti Rastogi, GLOBALOCAL organizer and GBO director in New Delhi.

“In 2013, we made GLOBALOCAL into a mini-Frankfurt,” she tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “We created a multi-format platform, where people from different parts of the value chain could come together, exchange ideas and co-create and collaborate.

The world’s most populous democracy, India has over 1.2 billion inhabitants who speak dozens of languages, with Hindi and English the primary tongues. Economic growth, though not without recent challenges, is among the strongest anywhere; in 2013, according to most estimates, India will enjoy five percent growth in industries and services.”

“India is a massive market, but it’s also an incredibly fragmented market.  And I think the one thing that came out of my experience at GLOBALOCAL last year was that India was ready for digital reading but it wasn’t quite there yet,” notes Malcolm Neil with global eBook retailer Kobo. “However, it’s not overly optimistic to think that growth in India in the digital sphere will be much faster than in other markets. The numbers are the envy of almost every other publishing market in the world.  So the market, while it’s a nascent market for digital, that growth pattern will quickly bring it into the fold.”

Currently the Director at German Book Office of the Frankfurt Book Fair in New Dehli, Prashasti Rastogi was born in India and grew up in different parts of the country, thus experiencing multiple cultures. She started her career in the IT services industry and after a stint there, she discovered her affinity to German language.

Previously CEO of the Australian Booksellers Association, Malcolm Neil is Director Content Acquisition and Publisher Relations for Toronto-based Kobo Inc. His current role with Kobo sees him at the vanguard of that company’s push into the Southeast Asian and Indian markets.

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