Publishing in India used to be a local industry where small players ruled the roost. With changing times and globalisation, that is no longer the case now. Most of the larger publishers in the world have started expanding into international markets. This has provided authors with the choice of going for an international publisher instead of a local publisher. This is true for academic authors with several international academic publishers, like Manakin Press, providing their services all over the world.
International book publishers and local publishers are obviously very different in the way they function. Knowing what these differences are can be useful in determining which one you should approach with your book proposal. Here are some of the common differences.
International Academic Publishers Are More Discerning About Content
International academic publishers have to cater to a global market. They also have a larger pool of authors to pick from. As a result, they have to and can afford to be more selective of the content they publish. They usually spend more on quality, which means their books are higher priced than locally published books. With the higher price tags, they need to be more discerning of what they publish since it needs to be worth the price. This means they look for good quality content and above-average authors.
Manakin Press, for instance, is an international academic publishing house with strong market presence in Asia, including South-East Asia and the Middle East, and North Africa. We are also expanding steadily into Europe and the Americas. Our publication relies on our reputation. If we publish sub-standard content or skimp on quality, it would affect our reputation not just in India but all over the world. This is why we impose very high standards on ourselves as well as the authors who publish with us.
Local academic publishers, on the other hand, are catering to a smaller market and are not as quality-oriented. Resultantly, their books are lower in cost. This makes them less concerned about the content compared to international academic publishers. They can recover their costs with fewer sales. Their aim is not large volume but enough to make a decent profit. Therefore, the quality of content does not factor very high on their priority list. What matters is that the content should have some takers.
International Academic Publishers Are More Concerned About Print Quality
As mentioned in the previous point, international book printers care more about the quality of the content because they invest a lot in the book quality. The technology they use for printing is more up-to-date. The paper and ink quality is better. The binding quality is far superior to the local publishers. This is because they need to cater to a market that expects high quality from academic books. This is a clientele that expects textbooks to be printed to a higher standard and they don’t mind paying more for that quality.
Local academic printers, on the other hand, are catering to a market that is looking for economy. They target an audience that does not care that the paper is thin and poor quality. They do not have any problems with smudged ink as long as they get the book for a cheap price. These publishers print their books with old technology because it is cheaper than upgrading to new methods. The focus in their case is a book that is low in production cost.
International Academic Publishers Give Authors an International Market
Local academic publishers are ideal for authors who are writing for a smaller, local market. The book does not need to be marketed extensively since their customers are looking for inexpensive reading material. In short, local publishers are catering to a local market and that is the extent of their reach.
On the other hand, international academic publishers have global reach. The textbooks they publish will be sold all over the world. They will usually have a lot of competition from other publishers producing similar content. This means they need to focus on marketing. Because of the aggressive marketing, authors publishing with an international publishing house get more visibility.
Local Academic Publishers Do Not Vet Their Content As Well As International Academic Publishers
Academic content needs to be reviewed by an expert panel before it is published. This involves fact checking and verification. Any claims made in the book by the author have to pass muster with the experts. International academic publishers have to be very thorough in this process. The knowledge they publish has to be verified and ascertained to be consistent with the latest developments in the field. They need to ensure the content is original and not plagiarised. This level of content vetting is necessary because they are being evaluated by international standards. If they are ever found guilty of publishing plagiarised or inaccurate content, their industry reputation will be badly damaged. They cannot afford to get a black mark against their name.
Local academic publishers, in contrast, don’t have to impose such strict rules. Because their market is limited, the content they publish is not judged by such stringent standards. While they may have some form of peer review panels, these may not be the best in their field. Local publishers are also not too concerned about plagiarism. Since the viewership is limited, copied content might not even be noticed. Since plagiarism checks add another layer of expense, they avoid them if they can.
Because of this, the content printed by international publishers of academic books tends to be more reliable and accurate. It is also consistent with the latest findings and researches in the field in question. Local publishers might not be as accurate and reliable where their content is concerned.
Local Academic Publishers Pay Lump Sum & International Academic Publishers Pay Royalties
When an author signs a contract with a publisher, the agreement is that the copyright for the content will belong to the publisher. In exchange for the privilege of using that content, the publisher pays the author. This could be in the form of a lump sum, also called a onetime payment or as royalty from sales. The royalty comes in regularly for as long as the book is selling. A onetime payment, as is obvious from the name, is paid only once.
If a book is successful, the author can earn a lot in royalties, as this is based off the profit the book makes. If the aim is to sell high volumes of the book, this is the form of payment that would get the author more remuneration. If the anticipated volume is not high, a single lump sum payment might be preferred.
Because international academic publishers are looking to sell in a larger market, they generally offer the authors payment from royalties. Local academic publishers are not usually aimed for high volumes. This is why they offer a onetime payment instead of royalty. The downside is that if their books sell better than projected, they lose out on all that profit. Similarly, since royalties are based on the profit the book makes low sales mean lesser payment for the author.
Having said that, with the vast distribution network international academic publications like Manakin Press have, the volume of sales is higher than local publishers. This means even without the assured payment of a lump sum amount, authors can earn a fair amount from royalties.
There are pros and cons of publishing with international academic publishers and local academic publishers, both. With local publishers, you as an author have a greater chance of being accepted. You also have an assured onetime payment. However, you might have lesser support and might have to compromise on the quality of the book. Your book’s reach would also have a limited reach, and therefore limited sales.
With international publishers of academic books, you would have to prepare a great book proposal to get considered. You would also have to work harder on the content, because your editors will push you to the limit. They will demand nothing short of excellence. You would, however, be rewarded with a book worthy of showing to people. Further, it would have an international presence. You would also earn a margin from the book’s sales and profits.
This knowledge of the difference between international academic publishers and local academic publishers should help you make a more informed choice about which you want to publish with.