Is There a Global Market for Indian Comics and Children’s Books?

In Children's, Discussion by Edward Nawotka


By Edward Nawotka

The first annual Comic Con in India was held last weekend and, according to Andrew Dodd of Campfire Books, it was a runaway success. Homegrown stories from Indian publishers and featuring Indian heroes were especially popular. While Dodd acknowledges that the comics market in India is still “nascent,” there might be potential for Indian publishers to market their works abroad.

It is logical for publishers of Indian comics to expand their market overseas, given the size of the Indian diaspora. Will it work?

Campfire’s own line of graphic novels were introduced to the United States and several other global markets last year. Can other Indian comics and graphic novels publishers be far behind?

It makes sense that publishers would try to find an audience of readers overseas, particularly considering the significant size of the Indian diaspora. But it only makes sense if publishers go after specific niches. For example, Kerala publisher D.C. Books has found a market for its line of Indian fairy tale children’s books among Indian readers in the UK.

That said, sometimes the stories can prove somewhat too foreign to readers unfamiliar with the culture or mythology. One English-language children’s title published by D.C. Books that I read to my three-year-old daughter left her shocked, as she was unaccustomed to the heroes of her books — in this case, a mythological animal — being killed and eaten. Likewise, Steerforth has found that buyers have been somewhat slow to stock Campfire titles due to a lack of familiarity with the authors and illustrators.

So, is the Indian diaspora interested enough in homegrown stories to constitute a global market? Is there enough interest in India — particularly as it becomes increasingly important on the global geopolitical stages — to inspire booksellers to take an interest in importing titles or publishers in distributing them?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.