Working Behind The Scenes

Updated: Apr 28 2004, 05:30am hrs
Fate propelled Padmini Mirchandani into the family business, but drive keeps her there. With her at the helm as executive director and publisher, India Book House has not only been able to propel its coffee-tablers on Indias cultural heritage into the UK and United States markets, but is also redesigning the Amar Chitra Katha series for the mainstream book trade there. She chats with Madhumita Chakraborty on the ubiquitous Woman factor in an industry in full bloom.

FE: Publishing is probably the only profession in which women even out men and are doing almost as well. Why do women take so easily to publishing
Padmini: It might be because the essentials required to make a success of publishing are akin to a womans intrinsic nature a strong sense of aesthetics, patience, persistence and staying power (to see a project through). Also, I realised a long time agothe willingness to remain anonymous and work behind the scenes. It is always the author that is in the forefront.

FE: Even within publishing, women seem to be concentrated more in editorial work, and very few are marketing or distributing books. You are among the few that have gone whole hog into publishing. How did that happen
Padmini: Theres no point just producing a bookyou have to sell it!! In our case, of course, weve been lucky to find our titles slipping into the market quite easily, as IBH is primarily a distribution company, and the books we publish get into the distribution stream by default.

Padmini Mirchandani
FE: Was it the amazing growth in the publishing business that made room for more women
Padmini: The fact that Im a woman has never been significant in my professional life. Ive just ploughed on doing my thing. As it happens, my managing editor, project manager, copy editors, all happen to be womendynamic, and productive!

FE: What would you attribute to the sudden boom in publishing and the mushrooming of Indian publishing houses
Padmini: If there is growth in Indian publishing it is, like everything else, a result of globalisation. Certainly the opening up of more retail bookstoresespecially the megastoreshave supported this boom. And globally, Indian writing is securing its place of prominence as are all things Indian.