Sarkar launches mobile publisher Juggernaut

Sarkar launches mobile publisher Juggernaut

The former publisher of Penguin India, Chiki Sarkar, has founded her own publishing company, Juggernaut.

Sarkar left Penguin Random House India in April this year and Juggernaut’s first 25 titles will be released in April next year.

The company will publish in physical and digital, but with an emphasis on “reimagining books for mobile” at both ends of the spectrum – by using new ways of commissioning with mobile in mind and “rethinking the reading experience, book distribution and payments.”

Sarkar has founded the company with c.e.o. Durga Raghunath who has 10 years experience in digital media publishing.

Sarkar said: “At Juggernaut, we want to create a world-class Indian publishing company that will be recognized internationally and pioneer new ways of publishing and reading. My ambition has been to build the strongest, most respected publishing team in the country with the best partners and advisers in every field. In Durga I have the perfect partner to do some amazing publishing. I am excited at the adventures ahead.”

Raghunath said: “Having started my career in book publishing, I am delighted to return with a strong digital lens. There are more Indians accessing the internet, reading, writing and paying online than five years ago. I cannot imagine something more exciting than rethinking the underdeveloped book market and getting Indians to read.”

Sarak told The Business Standard: "If India is going to live on the phone, if we’re going to become a one-device population, then Indians will also read on the phone. The e-book is literally a physical rendering of the book in electronic form, and too static. I’m saying, can we talk to this new mobile audience differently? Can we create a reading experience tailor-made for the phone?”

The Juggernaut team also includes Gavin Morris, a senior art director who has worked with publishers such as Transworld, Faber and HarperCollins in the UK and US, Jaishree Ram Mohan, a senior managing editor and Nandini Mehta, an acclaimed editor of non-fiction whose authors include Ramachandra Guha and Katherine Boo, among others.

The company has raised money form two main investors in an initial funding round - Nandan Nilekani, ex-c.e.o and co-founder of Infosys, and William Bissell, the managing director of Fabindia. There are four smaller investors, including Sarkar herself, which The Business Standard reports is from "her own savings as well as money gifted to her for her new baby by her father, media tycoon Aveek Sarkar."

Juggernaut aims to publish 50 titles each year, starting from April 2016. It will be distributed and warehoused by Hachette India.