The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Course to hone publishing skills

New Delhi, April 28: Good news for job seekers.

To have a reservoir of professionals trained in publishing, the Federation of Publishers and Booksellers’ Association is beginning a three-month certificate course for graduates from June 2 this year.

“Publishing in India is a vibrant Rs 7,000-crore industry growing at a rate of 15-20 per cent every year. However, unlike in the West, we have no comprehensive course in publishing in India,” federation president Sukumar Das said, while announcing the course at a news conference here.

The course comes with a price tag of Rs 18,000 as tuition fee and includes three components — editorial, production and marketing. It has been designed to have the right mix of theory and practical training.

“After lectures in the morning, the students are expected to have a hands-on training,” said Sridhar Balan, the course director from Oxford University Press.

A graduate in any discipline will be eligible to apply for the course and admission will be decided on an ‘aptitude interview’.

“The certificate course is an introductory programme and we plan to offer advanced courses at a later stage,” said Das.

The course will be first launched in Delhi and classes will be conducted in Jamia Milia Islamia. “We will also start the course in other capitals of the country after tying up with publishing houses and state branches of the federation,” said Das. “The students will be evaluated continuously through the course,” he added.

At present, there are some 16,000 publishers in India who publish about 70,000 titles every year — 40 per cent of this is in English and the rest in vernacular languages.

The federation has picked experienced professionals to run the course. Urvashi Butalia of Kali for Women — a feminist publishing house — is coordinating the editorial module. Prabuddha Sircar, former joint-director of the National Book Trust, is in charge of the production module and Joseph Mathai of Macmillan is the coordinator of the marketing module.

“What is happening at present is that most people are drifting into publishing and not making an informed career choice. The publishing industry has lost out by failing to attract young, dynamic people who can qualitatively contribute to the professionalism of the business,” Das said.

The federation also underlined that its decision to start a publishing course has been prompted by the global challenges the publishing industry will have to meet once India opens up its market to international competition. “We do envisage a situation where we will have more and more tie-ups with international publishing houses of repute,” Das added.

Balan pointed out that in the absence of a publishing course in India, those who want to hone their skills in this profession at present have no option but to go to the US or UK, which offer publishing courses.

“These are very expensive and only a limited category of students can afford them,” the course director said.

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