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Covering the Indian Publishing Scene

The Gulf Times has a standard piece on the importance of cover art, but the added wrinkle is that this talks almost exclusively about Indian publishing houses – and how they are trying to keep pace with the eye-popping covers used around the world. Deepti Talwar, senior editor at Rupa publishing house, said: “That covers are very important is a truism. The main concern is to have it stand out among so many books out there. Indian covers, especially Rupa covers, can compete with the global best as production just got better.”

Paintings, reproductions, advances and author input are all covered here, as is a more frustrating realization that the designers in charge of creating those covers – beautiful or not – don’t get much in the way of recognition. “Designers never get royalty. Print runs for the book go into thousands, but the designer gets a one-time payment. There is no tradition of a work order mentioning conditions. Work order in the west for illustrators is very clear. They are entitled to the copyright of the original cover, royalty, etc,” said Moonis Ijlal, who designs covers for Rupa, HarperCollins and Picador. “Here the designer is not even handed a copy of the book whose cover they have conceived and created. He still has to nick the book.”

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