Indian book market in "rapid growth"

Indian book market in "rapid growth"

The Indian book market grew by 45% in volume and 40% in value over the first half of 2011, with adult fiction the fastest-growing area of the market, according to Nielsen BookScan India figures as the panel marks its first full year of sales monitoring.

The panel now covers about 35% of the total trade retail market and has signed up over 70% of organised book retail chains. In 2011, it measured 13 million book purchases, worth Rs 3.28bn, covering more than 286,455 different titles.

Adult fiction was the fastest growing area of the market over the first half of 2011, growing by 82% in volume and 49% in value, with Nielsen reporting fiction titles also showing "steep growth in volume during the second half of 2011", attributed mainly to the release in the fourth quarter of Chetan Bhagat's title Revolution 2020 (Rupa & Co) which had volume sales of more than 280,000. Jeffrey Archer's title Only Time will Tell (Pan Macmillan), took fifth position in the charts, selling more than 48,000 copies.

Fiction as a whole was up 49% in value terms over the first half of the year, with adult non-fiction growing by 36% in value terms and 41% in volume. Rashmi Bansai's title I Have a Dream (Westland Books) and Walter Issacson's Steve Jobs biography (Little, Brown) took the two top spots in the 2011 charts, selling more than 49,000 and 44,000 copies respectively.

The Children's, Young Adult and Educational sector has also shown growth, up 27% in volume and 38% in value over the first half of 2011. The number one slot for the bestselling title was taken by Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney (Puffin) which sold more than 17,000 copies, followed in second position by Inheritance: Book Four: Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (Doubleday Children's) which sold more than 16,000 copies. The third, fourth and fifth positions in the chart were also taken by Wimpy Kid titles.

In the Nielsen figures, growth rates were calculated by using like-for-like shops, stripping out the shops that signed up to the panel later in the year, while value figures were based on full panel data.

Last week, Bloomsbury announced its intention to set up an India division, to be based in Delhi from May 2012 and headed by former m.d. of Macmillan’s Indian operations Rajiv Beri. Simon & Schuster, Lonely Planet, agent Aitken Alexander and the Hay Festival have all recently established a presence in the country, with Penguin celebrating 25 years in India. Hachette, which with Penguin is one of the biggest publishers in the Indian market, launched in the country in 2009, with HarperCollins, Macmillan and Random House also having offices in the region. Amazon launched its e-commerce site in India, junglee.com, at the beginning of February, and in January announced it was setting up its first warehouses in the country.

UK indie Oneworld's publisher Juliet Mabey said the Indian market was now "challenging the Middle East in terms of net sales" for the publisher, which is anticipating very rapid growth in the market. She said: "India has become one of our strongest markets since moving our distribution to Penguin India last year, with sales increasing 500%. It is now challenging the Middle East in terms of net sales. For such a large and diverse country, the arrival of Amazon will certainly increase our sales further.

"It remains to be seen how strong the take-up of English-language e-books will be in South Asia generally, but it is such a dynamic, rapidly changing region that I suspect this market will grow very rapidly."