Print on Demand and Self Publishing in India: Jaya Jha, Pothi ep23

Introduction:

Jaya Jha is the co-founder of pothi.com, a self publishing platform. She is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, an ex-googler and has two other ventures- Instascribe (for ebooks) and Summary Town (summaries of business books). She is a published author herself, with one novel in English and 3 collections of Hindi poetries. Jaya is also one of the most viewed contributors on Quora.

Listen To The Podcast Episode By Clicking Below

Discussion on Self Publishing and Print on Demand

  • The word Pothi means a book in Hindi and many other languages in India. Pothi.com is an online platform – a Print on Demand service for self-published books.
  • Pothi.com began with a personal need during Jaya’s google days when she wanted to get her book published. She did not plan on becoming a bestselling author.
  • Jaya partnered with her classmate from her IIT Kanpur Days- Abhaya to start Pothi. Abhaya was interested in the technological aspects of book publishing.
  • Jayas book is titled Moving On, and her collections of poems in Hindi are called Kuch Pal and Tumhare Liye.
  • Jaya is one of the most viewed contributors on Quora on the topic of book publishing. She believes that as an entrepreneur, her job is to connect with the community and therefore she spends a lot of time answering questions on Quora.
  • Some of the date provided by Jaya about pothi.com: They began with 3 or 4 titles, in 2015, they published about 100 titles a day. They have 2,000 authors and over 7,000 print titles in their stable, and they published 30,000 print books in 2015.
  • Process fo self publishing the books is as follows: For a 60,000 word i.e. 200 page novel:
    Pre-Printing (editing, formatting, cover design) – this process takes between 5 and 8 weeks, and costs nearly Rs. 28,000 or about 425 US Dollars.
  • For distribution (through amazon.in and flipkart.com) , there is a one time fee of Rs. 1,500 or nearly US 25Dollars. In other words, excluding cost of printing the book, an author will have to incur a cost of less than 500 US Dollars.
  • At present, editing is provided for English language only, printing and distribution is available for other languages including Greek and Spanish.
  • Amar has done some work on pricing of book for self published authors- the price for an eBook in India works out to 60 paise or nearly 1 cent per page. In other words a 200 page novel should be priced at 120 Rupees or nearly 2 U S Dollars. This is the median price for the top 20 selling ebooks in India.
  • At present, the focus of Jaya’s business is on the POD platform. Translations and Audiobooks are not on the radar.
  • Instascribe is a service for ebooks, and Summary Town is more of a personal project.
  • Jaya’s Book Recommendations: Author Kiran Nagarkar’s Cukold and God’s Little Soldier.
  • Her recommendation to authors: For professional books, authors should focus on developing a platform or their brand. For fiction or nonfiction titles, they should work on marketing the book from as early an 1 year before the release.

Links and References mentioned in the discussion:

Ways to Contact Jaya:

Twitter: @jayajha

Call to Action

Jaya has requested that if listeners find her podcast interview useful, they can vote for her at the L’Oreal Paris / NDTV Woman of Worth Award. The last date for voting is end of March 2016.

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