What began as a bookshop in pre-Independence Lahore, is today a flourishing publishing house. The largest sellers of Indological books across the globe, MLBD celebrates its centenary year
‘‘Half of those trying to understand India’s religion and philosophy are foreigners’’
—J.P. Jain Director, MLBD
Tell us about your association with the publishing house.
After my graduation in 1965, I was posted at our Patna branch, which was a 1937 establishment. At that time I had gone without any training or briefing on publishing. Not only me, all my brothers learnt in-house.
For 15 years I was handling the branch alone, including its administration and publication. When I shifted to Delhi to manage the printing press, I made my first foreign trip in 1969 for the Frankfurt Book Fair. At that time, we were the only Indian publishers there.
What role MLBD plays in the publishing industry?
MLBD has been actively part of the publishing industry, as part of the fraternity and the government. In 1977 for instance, I went for a world tour on behalf of the Export Promotion Council for a month. Then in 1982 I went to China as a government-delegated guest for a marketing study. We were chosen by the Ministry of Education to explore Indian religion and philosophy abroad.
How is the market for your books abroad?
Despite all the development abroad, there is a lot of frustration there. They tend to believe that Indian remedial sciences can help them. So they are eager to learn more. Indian culture, especially yoga and meditation, interest them.
There are numerous Indian gurus abroad. So people are aware of the uses of these concepts. In places such as Trinidad, Guyana, Fiji and Mauritius, the Indian community is way more serious about these matters than people here in India. Australia and New Zealand also give us similar reception and encouragement.
There is a 20 per cent increase in our exports per year. We have also explored China as a market, especially for texts on Buddhism. While in Bangkok, Thailand and Nepal, Hinduism is popular, Buddhism is popular in Sri Lanka.
What is the nature of readership in India?
At one point of time, most people used to be fond of reading. Now, only serious people come here—those who are looking for scholarly material. There is good readership in Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.
Any plans to venture into general publishing?
For us it’s not the money that matters. We have earned a reputation, so we don’t foray into other kinds of publishing.
|HOME | SUBSCRIBE | WALLPAPERS | ADVERTISING | POLICY | PRACTITIONERS | WRITERS | PEOPLE | ABOUT | CONTACT|