So This Is Why Chiki Sarkar Quit Penguin Random House India


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India has a new publishing company. And it might bring significant change in the way books are published, bought and read in this country. After leaving Penguin Random House India in April this year, here’s what publisher Chiki Sarkar has for the publishing industry. 

Chiki Sarkar, former publisher at Penguin Random House India and Durga Raghunath, former vice president (growth) at restaurant search service Zomato, have founded a new publishing company called the Juggernaut.

It’s a company that can change the face of publishing in the country as they plan to focus more on the digital side of the business and to become a mobile first publishing firm.

chiki sarkar

Source: Facebook

“An average book sells 3,000 copies, at a price point of Rs 299; we bend our backs, break our backs making these great books and what happens at the end of it? Very few people read it. Authors don’t make an income to support themselves … It’s a kind of a very tight business. You have to be exceptional to do well, but you can’t just have a strong average,” Chiki Sarkar said in an interview with Live Mint.

Because of this, and several other reasons, Juggernaut is bringing in the new concept of phone publishing. According to Sarkar, India is becoming a one device population and Indians should get a chance to read on phones as well. But e-books do not offer anything new in terms of the reader experience, as they are only a physical rendering of the books in an electronic format. Thus, she and her team are working on creating books which are tailor made for phones.

With this step, they aim to attract even those readers who want to dedicate only a short time to reading, and writers who specialise in different forms of writing, other than the conventional format.

“Could we think of presenting a book in a way that people access it not just as one big, one-off serious thing with 200 pages, but in snack-sized portions,” Chiki Sarkar said to Business Standard.

And for delivering this, her team is currently working on an app as well. The app will also enable conversations between readers and writers. As for payments, they are planning to partner with online payment systems to make the process easier for readers. To begin with, the publisher is promising 25 fresh titles that will be rolled out in April next year. According to this release, the company will be publishing 50 titles each year. And Juggernaut is working towards becoming India’s first phone publisher from next February.

However, the other conventional forms of publishing are not ruled out. Traditional paper, e-book or phone reading – the specific strategy will be decided based on individual books. Hence, people will be able to buy these books in bookstores and also download them on their phones.

The country is surely waiting for the kind of magic that this newest publishing company, and Chiki Sarkar, will now weave.

This is what she, and many others, said on Twitter:

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