Why Publishing Industry in Pakistan is not Flourishing ?
Types of publishing and why Publishing Industry is unable to flourish.
The publishing industry is the industry of culture and information that deals with the production, preparation, and distribution of magazines, books, novels, newspapers and graphic material, etc. In the new era of gadgets, it is often misinterpreted and misunderstood that book reading is an old fashion and old sport, but the truth is that there still exists a large community of readers, precisely everywhere. This community of reading is closely linked to the publishing industry, and it is a bitter truth that the publishing industry could never flourish in Pakistan.
Types of publishing
The three main types of publishing are,
1. Traditional publishing: this publishing is rare and hard in Pakistan, but in other countries for example India, there are numerous publishing houses. In traditional publishing, your manuscript is read by the publishing house and if they like it, they publish it at their own expense. The editing, printing, and distribution are the responsibility of the house. the author gets a royalty, which is usually a decent amount. In Pakistan, the main traditional publishing house is Mongrel Books in Karachi, which does not have a very good service either.
2. Hybrid Publishing: In this case, the indie author gets a part of the royalty and covers most of the cost, otherwise this cost would have been in hands of the publisher. This publishing requires a lot of effort. such publishing houses are more common in Pakistan, for example, Dastaan and Auraq. But then again, they cost an arm and a leg.
3. Self-publishing: In this publishing, the author pays for all the expenses, but there is no publisher, thus the revenue is solely for the author. Self-publishing gives less exposure and is a long, long and tedious process. The author writes the book, edits it, prints it, sells it, and distributes it.
As a principle, traditional publishing must be common, as it is more convenient for the author, and because such houses cease to exist, Pakistani authors approach foreign publishing houses, for example, penguins in India. Such books are usually agenda based and freedom of speech is not always allowed.
Issues faced by the Pakistani Publishing Industry
Firstly, Pakistan lacks proper publishing houses thus authors are discouraged to pursue this field. Publishing is thought of as a business, which certainly isn't thus both the publisher and author are profit-oriented. The author runs after fame and the publisher after money. Thus any kind of content is published as long as you can afford it.
What can be done?
The Publishing industry will only flourish if the Government provides good publishing houses. Authors should be trained and given sessions to teach them this skill. The government needs to build the infrastructure for buying and publishing books. Being an author is not a side profession, it must be considered as a field, like any other and an author must be thought of as competent as any other profession. Local books must be encouraged. I've often heard bookstores saying, "we don't keep local books." which literally pierces the heart.
Pakistan does not lack talent. It does not lack resources. It only lacks a sense of direction. This direction MUST be found in order to allow the Publishing Industry to flourish.