What brings you to India?
After acquiring a 100 per cent stake in our business here, I wanted to see how we’re doing. We’ll have more US titles, more education books.
What’s your sense of current trends in Indian publishing?
The strength of local titles is growing, and we’re selling more titles of the big books, thanks to online sales and more book chains. E-books are yet to take off.
What are your bestselling titles in India?
Abdul Kalam’s Turning Points is doing well. The sports titles seem to be very popular.
Tell us about your all-new subscription deal with Scribd.
This is the first major global e-book subscription service of its kind. It will include our US backlists. We’ll know in a few months how big this will be and get a sense of what and how people read.
What do you make of the Random House-Penguin merger?
I’m not sure yet how it will impact us. I hope it creates some opportunities for those who want to leave them and come to us!
Is there still excitement around non-fiction?
There has been a little cooling off there. The market has become tougher.
Can book reviews make or break a book?
Hard to say. Online reviews are hard to trust. The critical ones in the newspapers can help.
There is a great pre-order buzz these days.
Yes, that changed our marketing strategy. We have cases where pre-orders exceed expectations, helping us negotiate better with bookstores.
Are kids still reading books?
The teen books scene is huge. I think kids, moms and dads are reading the same books. Like The Hunger Games. I think there is more reading going on than ever before.
What’s on your bookshelf?
Right now I’m reading the latest one in the Divergent series. I’m also looking forward to the new book by Mike Tyson.
My favourite kid books were the Encyclopaedia Britannica of all kid questions and answers, 'Tell Me Why' series. I got my friends birthday wrong, and got to keep the book. Surprising, my father wasn't surprised at me telling him, that my friends mother was very disappointed I reached his house for his birthday, on the wrong day. It was a month too early, that day. He didn't mind at all, my father.
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