BANGALORE: The estimate of losses faced by the Indian publishing industry last year raised quite a few eyeballs as the losses crossed over Rs 2,000 crore. This year, in barely three months, the publishing industry, has recorded losses that are almost half of last years’ losses, reveal sources.
Bangalore retains its status of being the city with a huge chain of book piracy operators working underground, but also a city with new chains mushrooming every year.
According to Central Crime Branch (CCB), there are more than 20 book piracy chains operating in the city and almost five new ones being added on an average each year.
This summer, a whole list of pirated books from the best sellers list are out on the streets and what has awed the publishing industry is the fact that even bestsellers from last year are being sold for cheaper prices.
As CCB sleuths target the underground piracy chains that have just emerged, Indian publishers too are tracking the chains operating in the metros internally. “We are trying to get to the root of the matter. This year, many books from the sporting segment have become popular in the underground market. We think that the chain operates from the point of publishing enroute to the destination. Once an original version is leaked out, it becomes very difficult to track who is behind it,” said a source in Bangalore Publishers and Booksellers Association.
Although the publishing industry has been grappling in the dark, to make up for the losses during the 2008 recession, it seems most new piracy chains emerged during this time. “In Bangalore, the chains are quite powerful. Studies indicate that the cops were hand in glove with the pirate kings of the market here. Every quarter, an estimated `400 crore is lost on new entries that are pirated,” said a leading market analyst from Mumbai.
In the last one year, the Fraud and Misappropriation wing of the CCB has busted over 10 book piracy rackets across the city.
“We had seized more than 50,000 pirated books last year and this year, we are targeting the ones who are involved in printing the books, instead of just seizing consignments,” said a senior officer,CCB. Of some areas in the central business district, only Avenue Road retains the crown being one of the hottest market for pirated books. Additionally, areas like VV Puram, Shivaji Nagar, Jayanagar and HSR Layout have also been tracked to have chains operating.”
A year back, Bangalore used to get bulk copies of pirated books from storehouses in Tumkur and Shimoga. “This year, the piracy chains have become more brazen. They operate right under the cops’ noses, without any fear,” added the CCB Senior Official.
All Indian publishers have been urging for a National Book Policy to curb this menace and reduce their losses as the country does not have any stringent punishment for piracy.
As per the law, offenders will be punished under section 420 of the IPC and liable for a fine varying from `500 to `5,000.