HarperCollins India (HCI) has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of HarperCollins Worldwide with effect from November 30, after the conclusion of the publisher's decade-long partnership with Living Media India (LMI).
Brian Murray, president and CEO, HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, says, "While we have enjoyed a successful joint venture relationship with Living Media India, we are very pleased to take full ownership of HarperCollins India." That's because the country is the second-largest English speaking country in the world and clearly offers happy prospects of growth.
P M Sukumar, CEO, HarperCollins India, says that the company would like to build on the sound foundations created by focusing on "our local publishing programme, and draw on HarperCollins' global expertise in digital media to deliver our content to audiences in India and worldwide."
Aroon Purie, chairman, India Today Group, says, "Our relationship with HarperCollins has been a mutually rewarding one. We leveraged strengths of both the groups to create a strong organisation which, I believe, is well positioned to attain greater heights." Apart from its well-known presence in English, the firm also publishes titles in Hindi.
The fact that HarperCollins decided to end the JV is not surprising. Book publishing has traditionally sat uncomfortably in a news-oriented media company. English book publishing in India is less developed than other segments of the media business and needs major investments. The India Today group may have had other priorities when it comes to placing its money, for example, growing its Delhi-based newspaper, Mail Today. The purchase of 27.5 per cent stake in the news publishing company by the Aditya Birla group earlier this year, too, may have further reduced books as a priority.
HCI's business has grown tenfold since its inception. Many of its titles have won literary awards, including The Man Booker Prize for Aravind Adiga's 'White Tiger', 'The Hindu' Prize for Manu Joseph's 'Serious Men', 'The Commonwealth Writers' Prize' for 'Solo' by Rana Dasgupta and many others.