Monday, January 28, 2008

Hold on to your Sari

Reaction to the news that Mills & Boone are entering the Indian marketplace with a direct publishing operation could elicit a 'Duh!' especially, if you had any exposure to a Bollywood movie. Harlequin, owners of M&B has announced that they will be publishing locally produced romance titles in India later this year. The task looks slated for success on a number of fronts not least of which are the potential size of the Indian market and the veritable feast of potential story derivations. In fact, all they will need to do is copy the scripts of the 300 or so movies that are released each year and they will be on a winner.

From the TimesOnline:

“India is crazy about true romance,” Andrew Go, the head of the Indian operation, said. “Look at the basic Bollywood plot: boy meets girl; conflict; happy ending. We carry across that trend. We say we sell four books a second, Actually it’s 4.4. If I can take that to five, I’m a hero.”

India has the potential to hit Mr Go’s target: the popularity of the country’s lending libraries is declining as India’s burgeoning middle class opts to buy rather than borrow.

Interestingly, the expectation for success continues to rely on printed products. It will be interesting to see if Harlequin sees more rapid growth in their electronic products in this market where travel and access to products is still a challenge.

The company plans to follow formula similar to their developed markets which will include solicitation of local authors. They intend to offer some guideance to aspiring authors on the site. One thing they will change is to lower the hear somewhat which is unlikely to please Richard Gere.

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