Following his reply to a post in a newsletter, a series of email exchanges with Thomas Abraham, Managing Director of Hachette India, led to the request for an email interview which he generously agreed to. One of the most outspoken heads of any publishing house, his positions on various aspects of the publishing chain have been well articulated, and in this interview he retains his position on many issues. I started by asking him about his publishing programme:dscn6401

Leonard Fernandes: Give us an idea of the kinds of books Hachette India has invested in, the success rates of the various genres. How do you carve your niche in an increasingly fragmented market where the publisher’s brand does not play a very big role in the reader’s book buying decisions? While many publishers seek new authors as a way of attracting readers, what has your approach been to seek out and publish new voices?
Thomas Abraham: We were in effect a startup though we have one of the world’s biggest groups behind us, and typically of a start-up we’ve had our ups and downs as the market turned. We were lucky and were insulated against the 2008 crash where the market started going downhill, because of the Stephenie Meyer boom. 2011 however was a bad year with a couple of big distributors going down with the shutdown of Reliance’s Time Out bookstore chain and the near closure-level downsizing of Landmark. But, given the depth of the group, we’ve always had something big come along every other year—from Sachin Tendulkar to Harry Potter. But we’re equally clear that we need to have stable profit that is not dependent on just a couple of books.
In India we are relatively young—not yet ten years old—and our local publishing [programme] is even younger. Trade publishing has a fairly similar spread across leading publishers, and so nobody can really claim to be that different. It’s more in the emphasis one has for the list one builds within a broad commonality. When we set up we decided we would begin with two clear publishing divisions—Adult & Business, and a smaller Children’s division. Together the two divisions do about 50 to 60 books a year in a tight programme that has two clear priorities—the discovery of new voices, and publishing profitability. I’m pleased that both objectives have been achieved.
To quote our Editor-in-Chief, Poulomi Chatterjee: “With more and more Indians writing in English in different genres it’s tempting for all publishers to find and publish the strongest voices among them. This requires considerable reading and research in ‘non-book’ spaces. In non-fiction we’d look for subject experts or thought leaders or dedicated journalists who write for various print and online publications or on their own blogs and who we believe can execute a book idea well. In fiction it’s tougher to actively ‘seek’ out writers unless they are previously published, but choosing from among the manuscripts that land on your desk is not difficult once you’ve defined what it is you’re looking for in a story and the exact readership you want to serve. On and off, publishers also launch initiatives to discover new voices. Two years ago, we had teamed up with DNA and launched a ‘Search for the Next Bestseller’ contest, during which we received over 300 entries and shortlisted 20, out of which 3 were chosen by us to be mentored and published. It revealed that there are many talented writers out there with interesting stories to tell.”
Because of our strategy, as much as 80% of our local list focuses on new writers. Within our stated objective we have a broad approach. So we have bestsellers, award winners and marquee names alike in our stable, with Subroto Bagchi, Anuradha Roy, Manjula Padmanabhan, Krishna Udayasankar, Ritu Dalmia, Sachin Tendulkar, Malala, Roopa Pai, to name a few. We perhaps have the best food and drink range across group and local publishing alike, and also the most cutting-edge offerings in the crime and thriller genre. As a clear and conscious choice, with just one or two exceptions, we do not publish in the sub-Rs 200, low-priced segments. Our emphasis leans toward non-fiction but we do mirror our group strategies and have a full spread across genres from translation, literary fiction, crossover/general fiction, commercial fiction, as well as business, biography and health & fitness. We’ve been shortlisted for every major Indian prize and many overseas prizes (including the Man Booker), and have won the DSC prize, the Crossword Prize, the Hindu Young World Prize; and two crossword Prizes just yesterday. Not bad going for a very young publishing programme—and we’ve only just begun.

How are you addressing the children’s/YA segments, which, it is said arguably, constitutes the largest reading population?
This is true, but also a bit of a misconception. Yes it’s the largest segment but not really in the true trade/consumer readership sense. Parents will spend on their children’s reading needs because they believe it essential for the child to get ahead. And a lot of that will be generic product in progressive age groups. But because it is not a discerning market they will choose the cheapest product rather than the best one. (Yes, there is a big difference even in the story of Goldilocks told and illustrated as a cheap book, and one that has it done by key stages and reading levels, or higher quality illustrations for instance. But largely the typical Indian parent won’t care.) On the fiction side, where experimentation should be visible, just a handful of brands will dominate where there is buzz (generally from overseas) driving sales. But is there any steady tickover in range or authors? No, I don’t think so. And YA is practically a dead segment here, which illustrates my point, that we get them while they are young, thanks to some super brands like Harry Potter or Enid Blyton or Wimpy Kid, but then lose them until they are adults. The YA segment is resuscitated every 2-3 years, when some new phenomenon comes along. It was Stephenie Meyer, and a host of vampire tales for a few years; then John Green. But there is no consistent selling. There are perhaps just two or three bookstores in the country that even have a YA shelf. (by the way, I don’t include the campus romances in YA, but as regular adult; though there is a chunk of college students who read this)
So for children’s [literature] we have a separate division though we do a very small list of just about a dozen books per year. We don’t do more than one or two in the toddler segment because of the costs of colour, and our list is largely for the 8-14 range. But each of those are a bit different and are the best designed and produced in their field. We have had a runaway bestseller with Roopa Pai’s The Gita for Children, and a best fiction award for Venita Coelho’s Dead as a Dodo.

The publishing industry itself is seeing a lot of change. There are new entrants, while many old players are facing difficulties due to changes in customer’s book buying habits, an emergence of the best seller culture, a strong preference for popular fiction as opposed to literary fiction, or non-fiction, etc.. Give us your thoughts. Is it as profitable, or as gloomy, as various publishers, depending on who you speak to, make it to be? Give us your sense of the publishing industry in English here in India.
Yes, the change began in the early 2000s from two disruptive waves that India got quite late when compared to the west. First it was the chains (though Landmark began in 1987 as India’s first modern large format bookstore, the chains came into their own only about 12 years later) that were deep discounting, and at that time it was the indies that were protesting. Post 2009, the disruption was from online sellers, and this time it was the chain that was hard hit. It’s reached a point where more stores have shut in the past 3 years than have shut in the previous 30 years. Both disruptions had one thing in common—it ended up pushing the base discount up considerably. So today a strong, and rather unfortunate market characteristic, is that it’s less about the book than about discounts and returns allowances. Whether publisher or bookseller, the focus is less on how we should build and grow the market but how each link in the chain can absolve itself of risk.

Speaking of a fragmented market, share with us your approaches to marketing your titles. You recently took an unusual step of hiring a digital marketing agency. How is that working and what prompted that association?
We’re reorienting our marketing considerably and are probably the first to have consumer insight as an integral part of it. Social media isn’t that unusual… I think most of the big publishers also have digital agencies. We’ve taken the more unusual step of avoiding cookie cutter launches as a standard promotional effort unless they fulfill certain criteria.
Our new Head of Marketing & Consumer Insight Avanija Sundaramurti is the very passionate force behind our social media marketing. Given how difficult it is to reach the final consumer using PR and in-store messaging, publishers are constantly looking for ways to get the information about new books out to readers. Over time, social media has emerged the most cost effective and targeted medium to communicate directly with readers. This is why we are focussing on it, though no direct correlation between social media and sales increase is clear yet.
It makes sense to have an agency handle the daily social media management of the social assets because publishing houses such as Hachette have lean marketing teams and wouldn’t have the manpower and skills required to create daily content for these handles in house. It is working well for us so far and has helped us improve our presence on social media. It has also helped us roll out pilot social media advertising experiments to refine how we think about digital in the future. We have quadrupled our Twitter following completely organically and all metrics, whether it is reach or engagement. have exponentially increased on Facebook.

Do you see English publishing in India gradually becoming a capital-intensive sector? Where one must invest a lot of money in marketing, distribution, development of many titles, to survive?
If it continues to go like this—high advances, marketing co-op expenses, high discount, high returns, flat prices—yes it may well end up being so.
But no, it doesn’t need to be that. There are different-sized publishers in trade with no one player being super colossal with over a 35% share. So it can easily be different strokes for different folks if some common sense drives the market. The simple fact is that books need to be acquired and discounts need to be calibrated to market reality. Acquisitions cannot be made going in at the top end, at maximum stretch levels. That leaves one with no safety net and an undue dependence on one or two ‘super leads’; and the perennial hope that an unknown makes it big. To explain: One crime thriller may have sold 30,000 copies but if the market history average for that type of thriller is 7000; that does not mean that every book that reads fairly well needs to be acquired at the 25,000 level (which is sort of what happens now). Whether it should be acquired at the average or above that is dependent on how the acquisitions editor sees it and how much s/he is backed by the sales & marketing teams. This has glaringly been absent in the last seven to ten years or so, where advances have skyrocketed and over 90% of them don’t earn out. This is probably because of the sudden explosion of publishing houses, and acquisitions have been made at unsustainable levels to pad lists. This does nobody any good—not the publisher, not the author, not the agent, not the trade. Only the printer benefits as a higher-than-needed run is cobbled up to match the advance paid. But one easily forgets the cold fact that if this one hasn’t lived up to projections—the next book will not be viewed the same way and the author’s brand will take a beating. But over the past two years, thankfully we’re seeing the beginnings of a return to sanity; and there are fewer insane bids.
The very nature of trade publishing in India (low average prices, low margins, multiple titles released; and the whole swings & roundabouts nature of making money) prohibits high marketing spends except for a few brands.

If reports are to be believed, publishing houses are depending more on agents to get them the good books. Do you see this as a good development or should it be viewed as another level of filter between the author and publisher in what is already seen as a laborious process?
I personally see it as a good development if the agents understand the business and the market. We’ve had agents for some time now, and a few years ago, I would have been sceptical about an agency being able to sustain itself, given Indian prices, and the new market realities, where more books fail today than ever before. But I’m delighted that at least a couple of them are making a serious go of it, as a business, and doing so while understanding the constraints of trade publishing today. The days of ‘get-the-maximum-advance-you-can-and-run’ are over. A good agent will be able to explain to an author what limitations exist, and also, within those limitations, get an author fair representation and fair terms.
The biggest benefit agents bring to the publisher is the elimination of the slush pile. We used to get an average of four manuscripts a day, and while I was at Penguin it was six a day. However when I put together the combined years at Penguin and Hachette and tot up the figures, that’s a staggering 10,000 plus manuscripts submitted over about ten years from which maybe about six were published. Clearly an unproductive effort when you’ve got a small team. We’ve discontinued the direct unsolicited submission for our adult books, and ask people to route submissions through agents.

What do you make of recent attempts by publishers to adopt a digital-first (or digital-primary) approach for publishing? This when worldwide figures of e-book adoption seem to have hit a wall? Overall, how do you judge the performance of e-books, given that, in the not-to-distant past, the death of printed books itself was predicted? And what are your thoughts on e-book distribution mechanisms available in India?
I’ve always been sceptical about that but am hoping to be proved wrong. There are 2-3 publishers essaying this route and let’s wait and see. It is my view however that it is a very different demographic (or psychographic if you will) that reads on the phone (digital-first equates here primarily to the phone) and that community will not pay regular prices to read, and will want content free. So that is not a sustainable stand-alone business model, not even with tailored content such as quick reads or e-singles, which we’ve all tried over the years. The average download demand is too little. So that leaves advertising as a revenue model. If you don’t have the downloads and the traffic buzz, the ad revenue is not going to be particularly high either. Back to square one.
In India eBooks never really took off, though at Hachette we’ve beaten the average trend. But that I will admit is because of the sheer depth and range of the catalogue, and not from any market we were able to tap differently. So worldwide where base readerships were high, the numbers skyrocketed over about five years (eBook contributions had reached as high as 32%) and then declined and now have settled down to 15%-17% levels. In India the average never went above 5-6%, with just a couple of exceptions like us and PRH (Penguin Random House).
What remains to be seen is whether Amazon, with its heavy advertising for the Kindle as e-reader, will be able to bring about a shift in default reading habits here which still prefers paper (the way soft drink companies did transforming India from a lemon drinking country to a cola drinking one) or whether the Kindle will just end up competing as another tablet.

Much is said of the reading habit in India. With no accurate data, one can only rely on opinions. What is your take on it? Do you see it as the publisher’s role to increase readership among various reader groups (such as children, young adults, etc.)?
There is clear data written all over the wall. Readership is falling. Bestsellers are getting bigger yes, but that’s not enough. We are the only country where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (story 8) has overtaken Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (story 7). These spurts apart (every year there will be about 5-6 books like this spread across publishers), the bestseller charts are either dominated by the new strand of campus-romance-fiction or the ancient Wren & Martin and Word Power Made Easy. This is good but is not the core readership that can sustain industry. I do not subscribe to the theory that this will end up creating new readers who will then move on (‘graduate’ is the word used) to other genres. That according to me is not going to happen—definitely not in any statistically significant way. Much like the legion of Salman Khan fans are not going to be gravitating towards Kurosawa anytime soon. Mind you, I’m not knocking the campus romance. It’s brilliant that a new mass market strand has been created, and can help capitalize the market. But that’s not enough is the point I’m making. The trade publishing industry will remain healthy if and only if we have a stable midlist with breakout bestsellers (yes a literary bestseller will be lower than mass market) in different genres. One of the most telling examples is the decline of crime fiction as the dominant category. World over this is a marker of leisure reading. In India this has fallen off significantly if we track it from the 70s to now, and this despite (or perhaps because of?) the growth in same genre viewerships on TV.
Yes, it is the industry’s responsibility to increase readership as well as the government’s if it sees nation building in broader cultural-intellectual terms. But all of us do too little. And though this may be a 10-20 year plan it needs to be done. If you don’t get children reading now, this will be a market that reacts only to certain in-mode books and reads only for education or ‘getting ahead’. A far cry from the market diversity we had as late as the 1990s and even up to the mid noughties.

Translations are almost a craze in India nowadats,in itself giving it a much-needed impetus, considering the dearth of knowledge one set of readers have about good, progressive texts in other languages. In this mad rush for ‘good books’ to translate, where do you see the possibility of mis-steps? What has Hachette India’s approach to translations been?
It’s a good step but often done with wrong assumptions. First one must realize translations are not a ‘hot’ genre. If you look at the genre itself, beyond one or two exceptions, they (like their English literary counterparts) don’t sell beyond low midlist levels. So by all means undertake this as a serious part of one’s publishing programme, but do so with the clear assessment of how much it can sell. At Hachette we are clear that we have a certain number of slots reserved for translation, but we equally know that they will need to be acquired with two parameters—the books have to be outstanding (I’m delighted that our translations have made award shortlists) and viable.

You have been a supporter for taxation for books. Explain your position. There are many who feel that this additional cost might come in the way of an already, seeming, decline in book-buying habits.
Let’s first get the cost barrier argument out of the way. Yes I’m a firm believer in taxation for books, but the tax on books should be at the lowest level of 5%. So a book priced at Rs 275 (let’s take a relatively average price) would go up to Rs 288. I don’t believe that’s a deal breaker in the purchase decision. And as to the high priced books, a 5% increase from a mandated tax is not going to affect sales is my view. Now as to why have taxation:
As always I speak from the trade perspective, and, let me further clarify, this is my personal view. There are a couple of others who think the same way, but, yes, we are in a complete minority, and the publishing associations will be fighting to keep books tax free. I personally believe the time has come for books to be taxed to streamline accounting, create and formalize data capture, as well as gain serious recognition as an industry that is twice the size of Bollywood, not a perennial cottage industry looking for a handout. We get no real government support in IPR protection and other key issues because the government thinks it has done its bit by granting us tax-free status. The paying of taxes will also force accounting into the open (reducing if not eliminating the whole underhand ‘parchi’ business that is widely prevalent) and will actually give the industry the upfront data it needs—something we’ve not had in over a hundred years.
This is not to say books should become expensive for students who can’t afford them. I believe books should not be an umbrella category, as the three strands—School, College & Higher Ed including STM, and Trade are very different. So the books that need to get cheaper are core text books, and those can be exempted from tax. Much like all movies are taxable with a few being tax-free. I see no reason why trade books which begin as ‘entertainment’ should be tax-free. Today we are competing with film, TV and social media as infotainment, and I don’t get why Harry Potter the movie should be taxed, while the book should not. True there is a cultural dimension to books and today’s novel is tomorrow’s text, but then tomorrow is the point at which it should be tax-free. Likewise there will be non-core textbooks that are reference reading and serve vital educational reference needs. Those can have different support systems—they can also can be subsidized via government education departments. the way ELBS used to do, being recognized and classified as educational. For the rest, market forces will drive pricing. I do believe that books should have the lowest rate of tax and that slight increase is not going to cripple consumer purchasing ability.

Similarly, I have heard you lament about the fact that book prices have hardly increased on an average, and that, after considering inflation and other factors, there isn’t much increase in the price of a book. Some publishers are pushing the envelope on this and pricing books higher than before. What are your thoughts and what has Hachette India’s position been on this?
First let’s ask the question—who’s deciding on prices? Publishers yes, but more often than not publishers held hostage to a trade perception that orders will drop as you move across price thresholds. Because of this, prices in India are stuck two decades ago equally by perception and from the ‘educational hangover’. For instance I remember buying John Grisham in college (I’m talking about the late eighties) at about Rs 250. Then, Rs 175 to Rs 250 was the mass market price point (for ‘imported’ books). When we started publishing John Grisham (almost 30 years later) we moved that up to Rs 350, and today Rs 350 to Rs 399 is our mass market price point. And it hasn’t affected sales a bit. And before somebody cries piracy, let me point out that even books priced at Rs 150 get pirated. Price point is not going to deter piracy, only IPR protection and policing will. There is the true story about a mass market book dropping to Rs 75 (from Rs 110) to counter piracy, while the pirates smirked and continued to sell at Rs 85.
Likewise when Harry Potter 7 (Deathly Hallows) was published in 2007, we priced it at Rs 975 (I was at Penguin then) and there was a massive backlash saying nobody would buy a children’s book at that price; and even with the hype the maximum we could expect was 30,000 copies, whereas at Rs 499 we would have sold a lakh. There was a lot of debate, but there were a lot of costs too, and we stayed firm at Rs 975. We ended up selling 241,000 copies. So pricing, I believe, should be done by book, the demand, the value proposition. Some genres definitely need to have their price points reexamined. Yes equally there are some genres or categories or authors who may need to be priced low because of wider small town penetration. We still hold Enid Blyton at the Rs 160 to Rs 199 level.
Now look at what I called the ‘educational hangover’. The whole low price thing flows from seeing books as educational products that fulfill a nobler purpose; and even with trade the whole literary-cultural dimension is added on. So let’s take a look at two bestselling titles in either category. In the mid-90s when I worked at OUP, the Oxford School Atlas (OSA) was priced at Rs 90 (John Grisham the top thriller seller was at about Rs 250 price point). Today about 25-30 years later the OSA’s 35th edition is priced at Rs 315; and the New Learning to communicate ( English textbook of 116 pages) is at Rs 280 but the trade ‘pricing perception’ would still price the 400 plus page John Grisham at Rs 299 at best!
Today when costs are just about 15-20% below the west; when discounts and returns have edged up to being at western levels, it is ludicrous to think we can price books at Rs 199-Rs 250 as standard (yes, as exceptions, the campus fiction books require that price—one reason we don’t publish in that category; and maybe a couple of others), and it is time that prices went up.
We (Hachette India) had the dubious distinction of pushing up prices beyond this perception level when we set up and we were a bit worried when we saw the Nielsen surveys in 2011 about average pricing because the gaps were so much between us the next publisher. Today the gap is quite small. And I’m delighted that for certain mass market authors there are higher-priced experiments—Jeffrey Archer for instance is sold today in trade paperback at a higher price.
Fundamentally it’s quite simple—if you are in publishing for business, you have to turn a profit however small, to stay in business. And unless one has grants or unlimited funding from venture capitalists, one has to price to market—from costs and sales history also; and not just from perceptions that are probably outdated.

At the Publishing Next conference, a constant gripe is the distribution issue. As a bookseller myself, I have had to contend with depleted stocks (where distributors say they don’t have a particular title while the title shows as being available online). Where have we gone wrong with distribution, and what immediate measures you think could be taken to fix the ‘problem’? That more bookshops are closing than opening isn’t helping matters either. Similarly, you have spoken out against the sale or return policy, that seems to be slowly being discouraged.
That’s right and this flows from the problem I’ve touched upon above. It comes from a new knee jerk response to tough times that would rather minimize risk than sell more books. And you know this has reached truly silly levels when every title—even if it’s a big brand—is negotiated down to how much sale or return can one squeeze out of the publisher.
Let’s pause to take a look at what was the original selling chain less than ten years ago. There were three stakeholders in getting the book to the reader—the publisher, the distributor and the retailer. For almost a 100 years there was a discount and returns structure that was in place, constructed by market reality. Retailers had 33-35% discount and the distributor had 40%-42% with 10% returns. This fitted the pattern needed for the Indian market based on its prices and overhead costs then. Gradually with the onset of the chains, the retailer began demanding full sale or return citing higher costs like rentals in malls etc. The distributor then began passing on the demand to the publisher saying, “it’s your book you take the risk.” Which is a valid argument only if one then changes the entire structure. So if a distributor today is acting only as a transporter then the discount is redundant and the distributor should just be on a commission for having performed a service and not sales. The discount for distribution was to cover territory with a sales force and sell books. Likewise for the retailer, who picked what s/he wanted to stock based on a clientele s/he knew and books that matched his/her store philosophy. Each stakeholder owned a share of the risk. With the advent of an indiscriminate sale or return policy, that risk is being abrogated, and consequently quality bookselling is taking a beating. The big brands are known and get frontage. All the rest move in a pipeline that heads out to return four months later. Once in a blue moon something clicks—a success rate and a readership spread that is too little to sustain an industry over the next two decades.

On the same lines, give us your assessment of the online book market. Your thoughts on the discount policies, return policies, and the almost absent possibility of discoverability. You sell books through your own website. How has that worked for you?
No we don’t sell books through our website. As a foreign company we are not allowed to retail. We have outsourced the sale to a third party seller. But hardly any sales happen there, because it is not trying to be a retail site. It remains a publisher’s promotional site but should somebody not find a book anywhere, this is one window where they can come in and get the book.
I’m a firm believer that online and brick & mortar can exist together; indeed are needed together. Online is good for current hot sellers, auto / cross-recommendations and making the long tail available. Brick & mortar is for bestsellers and a curated segment wise list that facilitates better discoverability while providing a great browsing experience based on individual store philosophy (yes, I believe bookshops need one). In India neither is fully delivering on what they should do. Both chase bestsellers (which is natural) but with a few exceptions (largely indies) don’t do much else about curation. Waterstones in the UK is a classic case study of a turnaround by configuring different stores differently and curating better. Until that happens we’ll have the perpetual gripes about discounts, cost of rentals, and online deep discounting. Even today in these difficult times, the indies that define themselves well, manage costs well and stock according to their core competency are doing well.
So online came in and created a huge wave with some stunning growth. Today they are estimated to be between 45% and 55% of any publisher’s business depending on the sort of books that are your oeuvre. However as with a lot of things online, this has so far been a scorched earth policy leaving bookshops burning, without creating that much new value. Unless they get out of this spoiler phase (one presumes they want to make profits sometime) and leverage their advantages of long tail and outreach, their focus will remain narrow if one looks at a long term developmental view. But that will come as India gets connected better and outreach extends everywhere. Currently it is largely the bestseller that occupies online attention with the long tail being bought by buyers who hunt for the book, rather than through active promotion and building of communities.
Flipkart’s drop in books where it was the largest retailer in India two years ago is a stark case in point. Taking your eye off the ball where experience and continuity are concerned; and depending just on price is never going to be a long term solution where books are concerned. I’m pleased that they are taking stock and planning a comeback. Amazon comes in with its tried-and-tested back end and even deeper pockets, so one can expect the deep discount battle to continue for some time, unless India does something like France and recognizes bookstores as cultural spaces and levels the playing field with a discount cap. But this is unlikely.

I would also like to know your thoughts on the current climate of censorship, or self-censorship in the country.
It is much more in the limelight now, but this instant knee jerk reaction in calling for a book ban has been there for some time irrespective of governments. What is worrying now is the fringe that is not reined in, or how a case can be criminalized just for harassment. Nobody should have that sort of power. We have two chapters of P.E.N. here and so there will be a lot of focus on this aspect. Where publishers are concerned, I’m not sure if it’s self-censorship or prudence (or pusillanimity depending on where you stand) but certainly most international publishers will have strong anti-lawsuit leanings and are policy bound to go with their legal counsel’s rulings on a pre-publication read.

Any special plans for 2017.
We’ve had a brilliant 2016, and we’re optimistic about 2017, though market conditions are likely to remain tough. There’s a great lineup of books as we step up our local publishing with three great superlead non-fiction offerings from Subroto Bagchi, Viswanathan Anand and Rakesh Sharma. There are great new voices too—watch out for Archana Garodia, and Ritu Singh, in particular. Our food & drink list is shaping up nicely; and the children’s list has both Sachin Tendulkar and Malala frontlining it alongside a new book from new star Roopa Pai. So fingers crossed that it will be good going as we head into 2018 and our tenth year in India as a company.