By definition, independent/indie publishers are independent of the major conglomerates that dominate the book publishing industry; as Asad Zaidi of Three Essays Collective puts it, “Historically, all publishing was by default independent publishing. Big bad capital developed an interest in it only in 19th century, after the considerable expansion of readership and emergence of a large public sphere.”
In addition to Kali, Tulika, Zubaan, Tara and Ravi Dayal, the recent years have seen a spate of new indie houses (publishing in English). Sayoni Basu and Anushka Ravishankar, stalwarts in children’s publishing started Duckbill; Basu says, “Anushka and I were very clear about the kinds of books we thought should be in existence, and which we would love to publish. And we talked about this for many years before we signed an MOU with an investor in May 2012; our first books were published in October 2012.” Arpita Das was working with Oxford University Press India as commissioning editor, History/ Philosophy/Religion when she decided to start her firm; Yoda Press.
Zafar Anjum founded Kitaab in 2005, as a platform to track and celebrate Asian writing in English; now Kitaab has ventured into publishing of formats (short stories) that mainstream publishers show little interest in.