It’s New Year’s Day, 2018, and already India’s new year of book festivities is well underway.
The eleven-day Vijayawada Book Festival starts today, January 1, warming the ground for the massive Kolkata International Book Fair at the end of the month. And in between (and overlapping) these there’s the New Delhi World Book Fair kicking off on January 6, and no sooner is that over than the Jaipur Book Festival gets underway, and somewhere in between all that (January 22-27 if you must know) the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet will be happening.
Those who have followed my ramblings any length of time will know I regard India as the most exciting publishing prospect on the planet, and those who followed the International Indie Author Facebook Group in 2016 will remember I singled out the then new and unproven Juggernaut as the most exciting publisher on the Indian scene.
As TNPS only launched in September 2017 I’ve not had much chance to explore Juggernaut since, although I did cover the fantastic news that Juggernaut had partnered with Bharti Airtel, the Indian and global telecoms giant.
But as 2017 drew to a close Juggernaut produce their 2018 Roadmap, and if anyone needed further evidence that Juggernaut is the most exciting publisher in India right now, here it was.
More partnerships coming. Or as Juggernaut terms things, “multiple store-fronts.”
This is a fine example of Juggernaut in action, with plans to add to the aforementioned Airtel deal and deals with MakeMyTrip, RailYatri, and Apollo, to expand readership in a country where digital reach is growing at a phenomenal rate.
The plan to focus on diaspora readers is one close to my heart. In my youth in the UK I was able to enjoy the culture and warmth of Indian and Pakistani immigrants and on my later travels to the Indian sub-continent would come back with suitcases of Indian and Pakistani books to share.
I knew from my own travel experience how dispiriting it was to be in a foreign land and have no own-language books to read. But even today, in the digital age, the problem persists. In the UK today local-language Indian-subcontinent books are available, but the choice, I’m told, is uninspiring, and even English-language Indian bestsellers are sometimes unavailable, let alone local language titles.
Juggernaut mentions the US, UK and UAE, so this message to Juggernaut – go global!
Here in West Africa where I’m writing this post from, Indians are the mainstay of many trades and stores, and talking to them about what they miss from home the same message comes across time and time again – it’s almost impossible to find books to read.
And I know that’s also the case in east Africa where the Indian sub-continent populations are much bigger.
But let’s turn our attention next to Juggernaut’s bold decision to pursue an ebook subscription service in India which will be competing head on with the subscription service of that other juggernaut, Amazon.
Too soon to say what format it will take, and we all know what has happened to other players in this arena when they competed with Kindle Unlimited. Does anyone even remember Oyster now?
But Juggernaut is innovative enough to rise to this challenge, and it’s looking to be an exciting year for both Juggernaut and Indian publishing generally..
I’ll close this post with a reminder of the bigger picture, in mind Juggernaut is a digital-first publisher with mobile its primary reach infrastructure.
This from a TNPS post in September exploring why India is the brightest publishing prospect on the planet right now:
It will come as a surprise to some to learn that India makes the top twenty list of countries with the most internet users.
It will no doubt come as a surprise to many more to learn that India is at #2, behind China, and ahead of the USA at #3.
In fact, not only does India has more people connected to the internet than the USA – it has more people connected to the internet than the entire population of the USA.
India kicked off 2017 with some 462 million internet users, compared to the USA’s 287 million.
By 2020 India’s internet user base is expected to reach 760 million.
That’s not just more than double the entire population of the USA, but equivalent to double the entire populations of the USA and UK combined.
Read that full post to see just how exciting India’s future is