Strategically Speaking: India: World’s Largest Book Exporter?
Book City will be a complex undertaking, but if the conference documents I've seen are any indication of the end game, this could be an industry-changing initiative. The effort hinges on two key strategic principals: solution and scale.
Regarding solutions, Book City is designed to leverage India's well-established capabilities in the prepress area—including color management, image editing, traditional typesetting, page layout, content digitization and content conversion combined with geographically centralized book manufacturing. The vision quite literally has all of the critical elements—design and editorial services, prepress, short-run digital printing, sheetfed and web offset, binding of all types, fulfillment operations, either co-located or in regional hubs—sharing a common information technology infrastructure and, perhaps most important, with easy access to competitively priced air and ocean freight. The objective of this proximate location is to offer publishers across the globe an end-to-end solution rather than a single point of specialized service such as prepress or printing, an integrated solution versus a one-off.
Perhaps more important to the effort, though, is scale—unquestionably a critical success factor and essential to transforming the landscape from a geographically dispersed group of content management companies and book manufacturers to an industry with critical mass. The core manufacturing component consists of 10 of India's leading printers: Gopsons, International Print-o-Pac, Lovely Offset, Manipal Technologies, Multivista Global, Navneet Publications, Replika Press, Repro India, Srinivas Fine Arts and Thomson Press. The scale will be provided by a number of sources including:
- State Government: providing land, utilities, tax incentives and access to trained manpower and port facilities.
- Infrastructure Company: creating an independent legal and financial entity to establish the necessary infrastructure.
- Include a Special Economic Zone (with financial incentives).
- Content/Print Companies: service-specific organizations that are "citizens" of Book City.
- Financial Partners: funding sources for participating organizations.
- Strategic Alliances and Partnerships: including both Indian and international paper companies, equipment manufacturers, information technology providers and dedicated, publisher-specific facilities for key clients.
In addition, the Book City initiative has identified several core operating principles as fundamental to success: