Indian STM Publishing Worth $200m, 20% Growth, 2% Ebooks

In Discussion by Vinutha Mallya

84% of profit in the Indian publishing industry comes from STM publishing.

By Vinutha Mallya

IndiaNitasha Devasar, MD of Taylor & Francis Books India, revealed that the STM market is worth $200 million in India, and the growth has been 20% in the last few years, but it is slowing down,” at this year’s GLOBALOCAL 2014  (see today’s feature story). The share of ebooks is 2% in STM segment in the Indian market.

She raised the issue of cost-fallacy that we suffer from, for expecting that ebooks should be cheaper because of the absence of print. “The technology investment required is a cost. It is expensive,” she said.

Taking cue from the title of the roundtable on STM publishing, “Icing on the Cake — New Pricing, Access, Distribution Models,” moderator P N Venkatraman, director of international affairs, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, said that the “icing” referred to the digital revolution.

The panelists debated issues ranging from technology adoption and digitization, copyright and piracy, the open access model and its implications, the challenges to technology adoption, and more.

“E-publishing is not only about converting books to e-formats, but it is about creating a new kind of content,” said P T Rajasekharan, chairman of Focus Medica, India. He reminded the audience that 84% of profit in the publishing industry comes from STM publishing. “It has to be taken very very seriously.”

Michael Healy, executive director, Copyright Clearance Center, New York, said, “In the US, no one talks any longer about the “digital revolution.” That conversation has happened; the transition has happened already.” He spoke of the “polarizing debates” in the US and parts of Europe, surrounding the funding of STM content and open access (OA) publishing.

“In India, OA models can work when authors are ready to pay for the costs of publication,” stated Puneet Mehrotra, director, Consortium eLearning Network, India.

According to Rohit Kumar, MD–South Asia, Reed Elsevier’s Health Science Division, in 10 years from now, only 20% of journal articles will become open access and 80% will still be available through publishers. “The role of publishers will become more complicated,” he predicted. “How we evolve will depend on how we adapt to technology.”

About the Author

Vinutha Mallya

Vinutha Mallya is an independent publishing consultant, editor and journalist, based in Bangalore, India. Currently, she is a consulting editor to Mapin Publishing, a contributing editor to Publishing Perspectives, and visiting faculty for National Book Trust's publishing course. She is also an advisor to the annual Publishing Next conference.