India may have 22 officially recognized languages, but as many as 122 languages are spoken throughout the vast country.
And when the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organized a debate on what this means for publishing today in India, it brought together four key experts in the factors impacting the industry there today:
- Ravi DeeCee, CEO of DC Books, one of the leading book publishers in India in Malayalam; he also runs a chain of bookshops and is president of the Kerala Publishers and Booksellers Association
- Subrahmanian Seshadri, an education and publishing consultant with a long career in the publishing industry as executive director of Dorling Kindersley, India, regional director of Oxford University Press, India; Seshadri also launched Lonely Planet for the Indian traveler
- Tina Narang is the publisher of the children’s list of the one-year-old children’s imprint, HarperCollins India; prior to HarperCollins she was at Scholastic India
- Esha Chatterjee, CEO of the family-run independent English-language publishing house, BEE Books; that house also provides content support for the International Kolkata Literature Festival and Chatterjee is one of the curators of the festival
As the program reflected, each of India’s languages has its own literature, and much of this literature remains available for translation into other Indian languages—and for foreign publishers to discover.