Why Are Trade Book Publishers So Rare In India?

Manakin Press is one of the few publishers in India that prints trade books. Trade books or professional books are industry-specific books that are not necessarily academic but are meant to enhance the knowledge of the industry. Trade books like Cyber-Crimes In The 21st Century, Emerging Technology Trends In Modern Libraries, Environmental Control In Cement Plants, and other such titles not only give unique insights into the industry but also talk about latest developments in technology. A trade book publisher effectively works towards improving the industry by bringing this knowledge to the market. So why are trade book publishers so rare in India?

Trade Book Publishers Cannot Find Writers Interested In Writing About Their Industry

One of the main reasons for the lack of trade book publishing is the fact that there is a dearth of writers in this category. This might seem strange considering how large our population is and how advanced we are technologically and industrially. However, the fact remains that not enough professionals are thinking about writing and this directly affects the professional book publishing industry.
The professionals have their own reasons for not writing trade books. There are several cultural and social factors that lead them to believe that writing books is not their job.

Another reason is that professionals aren’t aware that publishing a trade book is a possibility. Indian industries became organised just some decades ago, and before that they functioned without regulations or best practices. Though they are now organised, the mindset of the people remains the same. However, this is changing gradually. Even so, most professionals don’t realise that they are part of a bigger picture and can, therefore, add value to the industry. It is up to the few publishers of trade books like Manakin Press to bring about this awareness.

Unfortunately, most industry veterans feel they are not qualified to write. Writing has always been considered an intellectual exercise in India. It is not something people do to contribute to an industry. It is seen as something literary geniuses do. This is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that people tend to look down upon writers who are writing popular fiction. If it is not heavy literature, then you shouldn’t be writing. An industry professional would not even consider writing about his field because they may feel intimidated and not see themselves as intellectuals while believing writing is something only intellectuals do.

The inherent hierarchy in Indian society is another factor that deters people from writing about their industry. Unless you are at the top of your field, you don’t feel ‘worthy’ of dispensing knowledge. Industry professionals feel their seniors might feel slighted if they have to read about their industry’s advancements from their juniors. Thus, even though they might have the knowledge, they keep it to themselves so as to not ruffle any feathers. All of these factors lead to the fact that trade book publishers have to actively seek out writers to write about their professions.

Trade Book Publishers Have To Sort Out Misinformation Or Outdated Knowledge

In order to write a comprehensive book about a subject in your trade, you need to have been in the business for a certain amount of time. That is the best way to gain a deeper understanding of your industry. Experience gives you insights, but on the flip-side, you are also more likely to be stuck in a rut. Most professionals, even those who are involved in teaching and training, need to actively seek out developments in their field to stay informed. However, when you are busy with your own work, it is difficult to find time to do so. With over sixty students per class, a teacher does not have time to read about new developments. Working ten to twelve hours a day means a professional only has time to meet deadlines and not much more.

As a result, the more experienced you are, the older your knowledge is. This means that when you actually get down to writing a book, your insights may need to be updated a bit. This is what good trade book publishing houses like Manakin Press assist in. It means extra work with the author, some amount of research, and reading material suggestions to improve the quality of the book. This added effort is what puts off most publishing houses from getting into trade book publishing.

Trade Book Publishers Do Not Have Many Buyers

As is obvious from the name and content of trade books, the only people who would be interested in these books are professionals in the trade. A regular Joe off the streets would not be interested in the nitty-gritty of sheet metal rolling. This means that any trade book publisher would need a large part of an industry to be interested in the book they publish. If it is sheet metal rolling, then the sheet metal industry has to be the consumer.

However, as mentioned earlier, most professionals don’t have the time to read up on their industry. Combine that with the fact that most of these trade books are more expensive than fiction books, the reluctance of the consumer becomes even more apparent. The only way to boost the sales of such books would be to get companies interested in them. Whether they buy them for their employees or encourage employees to keep themselves abreast of news in the industry, this is the only way to increase sales of such books.

Luckily, companies have started to realise the importance of increasing their employees’ knowledge and skill sets. A number of companies will pay for higher education of valued employees. By enhancing their employees’ capabilities, the companies can upgrade their own selves and ensure loyalty. Investing in trade books that provide information on the best practices of the profession is another way of doing the same thing.

Trade book publishers like Manakin Press work with such companies to further the advancements in technology. We offer custom publishing to companies so they can get small orders of trade books published for their employees. This is our way of encouraging professionals to come forward and share their wisdom and experience in their respective fields. We also provide them with guidance and moral support, because we understand that writing and publishing is not their main trade. Our editors work especially hard with first time writers by providing them with writing tips, reading suggestions, and lots of encouragement. This is our way of nurturing and hopefully growing the trade book publishing industry in India.