Last week, we made the exciting announcement that HarperCollins will make their list of titles from across the world available on the Juggernaut app. This means that the works of your favourite authors like Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Satya Nadella, Raghuram Rajan, Mark Manson and so many others will be available on our app! We decided to to use this opportunity to put the CEO of HarperCollins India, Ananth Padmanabhan, on the spot!
Juggernaut Books: How is digital changing for HarperCollins?
Ananth Padmanabhan: In a lot of ways, but specifically – people are reading more ebooks, and for HarperCollins in India, we are seeing a steady increase in sales for our bestsellers, especially, and across the board too. Marketing is what is most impacted by digital, naturally, and we are reaching a lot more people in much shorter time and we are able to conduct focussed targeted marketing – creating useful conversations with readers.
JB: Five titles you are most excited about this year?
AP: It’s SO hard to pick just five! – I’m most excited by our children’s publishing program – we have India’s first book on dinosaurs, Bluethingosaurus. We have two very charming picture books – one on Amrita Shergil, The Rebel Girl and the other called Pashmina, about a girl who traces her Indian roots. We also have a Ruskin Bond scrap book called These Are A Few of My Favourite Things.
In the adult list, we have fantastic crime. We have two long-awaited biographies and our politics and current affairs list has one book – a kind which has never been published before and one I can’t even talk about yet!
JB: The one thing being on Juggernaut will change for HarperCollins or the one thing you are most excited about?
AP: I’m excited by the fact that we can now go straight into a customer’s phone and not only offer a lot more curated content based on reading habits but also get real-time feedback on what’s working.
JB: What are some innovations in the book world you are looking forward to?
AP: I would love to see audiobooks work in India. And any innovation that can help the market to grow. An estimated market size of 50 mn book buyers is too small a number – we need to aim to grow this to a 100 mn.
JB: Do you believe that a digital bookstore can replace the physical?
AP: No, that’s simply because you can’t ignore the human need to go shopping physically, touch and feel and see. Do physical stores have to change and evolve constantly? Yes. The digital bookstore is a big enabler in giving readers that much more choice and information.
JB: What was the last book you read digitally and when?
AP: I read The Woman in the Window most recently.
JB: In the battle between paperback and ebook, who will win?
AP: ‘Books’ win – I’m not married to a format and will be most happy when we sell a lot more books and give the reader the benefit of choice based on his or her comfort format. Print, or Electronic or Audio are all ultimately stories and ideas!