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Print book sales remain strong in India, according to figures released by Nielsen BookScan India. The market for all print books – trade and academic – has grown in 2019 over 2018, up 21% by volume and 22% by value.
Vikrant Mathur, director of Nielsen Book India, said: “Print book sales in India for the year to date (until August 2019) pull even further ahead of year to date (YTD) 2018. Fiction sales have increased in YTD 2019 compared to the same period last year and contributes 15% to the total consumer market. General and literary fiction dominates the fiction category, followed by crime, thriller and adventure and historical and mythological fiction. Paperbacks rule the fiction market and contribute 88% of total fiction sales, whereas hardbacks contribute 12% and remain the same as YTD 2018. Indian originated local titles have featured in more numbers compared to foreign titles in YTD 2019 – out of the top ten, eight titles were local.”
The government recognises the importance of books and has initiatives in place like ‘Read and Grow’ which stipulates that there should be a library in every school. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen on putting resources into mobile, with emphasis on the spread of fibre optic cable, it seems that, as yet, Indian people prefer print to digital. A survey undertaken by Nielsen found that more than 35% of respondents said they preferred print or non-digital material. As a result, the country’s print industry is three times bigger than the film industry and six times the size of music, radio and gaming.
It is estimated that there are some 22,000 bookshops, from established chains like Oxford Bookstore to some fabulous street stalls which literally take books right to the people. The Indian book industry continues to evolve.