Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Religious and spiritual development titles are the most popular category of Indian publishing worldwide. Pixabay

In 1998, Ray McLennan, who till then had been importing into the UK “all sorts of things” from India like musical instruments, saris, tilak, Tulsi malas, and agarbatti, purchased Motilal Books, a small Oxford-based distributor focusing on academic bookshops and university libraries. In 2014, he set up his own company, Rays Books of India Pvt Ltd, to broaden his accessibility. Between them, the two companies recorded a turnover of 1.7 million pounds in 2020, in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic, riding largely on online sales.

“I needed a new challenge, and having found it hard to get books from India, and the constant issues with payment, quality, reliability, and general information on what is in print, decided to improve all the logistics, providing a much-needed service for all Indian publishers, from the biggest to the No.1 authors,” McLennan, who is originally from New Zealand, told IANS in an interview from his base in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, north of London.


Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what’s happening around the world.

“My gifts from India to the world are printed books across the full spectrum of subjects, many unique to India and others international, but produced more cheaply in India than elsewhere. Religious and spiritual development titles are the most popular category of Indian publishing worldwide. But all academic subjects, fiction, wildlife and tourism, and of course cookery, are always selling,” he added.

And how – 16,000 books were sold per month in 2020 and made for 9,000-plus titles sold during the year. “We have had an increase in turnover (in spite of the pandemic), but due to increased freight costs, a lower margin. Our greater sales are because online selling is king. Bookshops have been closed much of 2020,” McLennan said. His Indian associate, KPR Nair of Konark Publishers, was quite astounded when he visited McLennan in St Albans in 2019.

“I could not believe my eyes when I saw the kind of stock of books held by him of Indian authors, from Chetan Bhagat to Shobha De to Ramachandra Guha to Shashi Tharoor. I was floored by his in-depth knowledge of our products and equally by his passion for Indian culture and our way of life, etc. What was to be a brief meeting thus ended up in a four-hour-long passionate talk about books, history and culture, and untold stories about Indian authors and our publishing industry. “To sum it up, both of us did not get time even for the minimum civilities of a cup of coffee. We did not simply realize it; we were so caught up in our talk. We smelled, sipped, drank, but it was all books and books,” Nair told IANS.

Only in India, McLeenan said, “is the English publishing scene full of titles on an endless range of subjects, authors and publishers. As the world’s largest distributor of this material outside of India, we work with the worldwide book trade to list between 700-1,000 new titles a month, adding to a range of over 100,000 such titles available today. We have over 9,500 Indian published titles in stock with Amazon.co.uk, and 13,400 units in stock with Amazon.com in the USA”.

“We have titles available from more than 750 Indian publishers we exclusively represent into the UK and the worldwide book trade, including Penguin Random House, HarperCollins India, Westland, Konark, Orient Blackswan, TERI, Juggernaut, Kitab Mahal, and Jaico. “We exhibit internationally every year at the London Book Fair (the 2020 edition was canceled and the 2021 event will be held digitally) where we meet with publishers and customers. We attend the Delhi World Book Fair every year in February (the 2021 edition was virtual), which presents us an opportunity to meet contracted publishers and new publishers, see new titles, and plan future business with them all to maximize sales outside of India,” McLennan said.

He visited India originally in 1975, has since visited the country every year, and since 2004, multiple times a year. The establishment of Rays Books of India Pvt Ltd improved the procurement percentage of all books he had a demand for and that dramatically improved sales. “We went from supplying only 55 percent of titles ordered by me to 85- 90 percent, and that, in turn, told the UK market that greater availability was now possible, which again increased orders,” McLennan said.

“We are pushing new developments all the time. Adding new titles to our selection is a priority. We are currently adding over 500 new titles to the world’s book trade records, every month, every year,” he pointed out. “We want to sell as many of each title as possible, and as a specialized wholesale distributor of Indian publishing, we estimate that around 75-80 percent of all Indian publishing sold in the UK is sold by Motilal (UK) Books of India,” he added.

ALSO READ: The Diabetic Cookbook: Manage Diabetes With Joys Of Fine Food

Over time he built up the inventory of titles held in stock in the UK, “and that again increased the speed of supply to all types of trade customers, such as book chains, independents, libraries, schools, and specialist niche markets. “From 2006 we have been the only major supplier of all Indian publishing worldwide, and although we have had financial collapses, terrorism, changes of governments, ebooks, Brexit, and now Covid, our sales have continued to increase as we create more awareness of what has been published, its price and where to get it.

“Yes, Covid is giving us problems, but we will continue to supply-demand which is mainly coming from the USA and the UK as can only be expected as the two biggest centers of English language publishing and selling,” McLennan concluded. (IANS/JC)


Popular

IANS

iPadOS 15 is Helping Millions Of Kids, Professionals Navigate Covid

As millions of students and professionals globally, including India, go back to learning and work from home amid the Covid wave triggered by the Omicron variant, the focus is back on devices that can boost their productivity and creativity at home and help them sail through the period. The all-new iPadOS 15 has brought in some fresh features to help kids navigate the crisis.

Take advantage of Quick Note, a fast and easy way to take notes anywhere outside the app, and you can even add links from apps and websites to provide context. You can simply start one by swiping up from the bottom right corner of the display. In iPadOS 15.2, you can also access Quick Note with a swipe from the lower left or lower right corner of the screen.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

For the first time in independent India, now a postgraduate course in Hindu Dharma is included at the Benares Hindu University.

By Maria Wirth

Things are finally changing for the better for Hindu Dharma. For too long, many educated Indians, including the first Prime Minister Jawahar Nehru, had accepted the biased view of the British that Hinduism is inferior to the Abrahamic religions, without realizing, that this was a clever strategy to hide the fact that Christianity and Islam are based on a ‘must-belief’ story and Hinduism in contrast, is based on verifiable insights of the Vedas and a genuine enquiry into the truth.

For the first time in independent India, now a postgraduate course in Hindu Dharma is included at the Benares Hindu University. It reminded me that already almost one year ago, a centre to study the practice and philosophy of Nath Panth was established at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gorakhpur University by Yogi Adityanath, who himself is a Nath Yogi and the Mahant of Gorakhpur Mutt, apart from being the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. A conference was held in March 2021, to which I contributed the following thoughts:

Keep Reading Show less
IANS

According to the family, the boy went missing in 2012.

He was 18 years old when he went missing from his home in the Mahmadpur village in Farrukhabad district. Brajpal returned to his house on Friday after more than ten years and his overjoyed parents could not believe their eyes. But a rival family informed the police as Brajpal's family had filed a kidnapping case against them. The police soon came and took away Brajpal for questioning.

According to the family, the boy went missing in 2012. His parents looked for him for nearly two years, and later approached the local police. It was when the local police allegedly refused to register their FIR, they went to the court and got an FIR registered at the Merapur police station against their neighbours, accusing them of kidnapping their son, following a land dispute.

missing signage Brajpal returned to his house on Friday after more than ten years | Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less