Photocopying shops lined up near all colleges under University of Pune (UoP) may well be at the receiving end of wrath from book publishers. Four major publishers of educational books for UoP that have a loose association as of now are contemplating floating an official body to put up a united fight with book piracy that is eroding their profits.
There is an unofficial association among all of us who publish academic books. But due to heavy losses we are facing,we are planning an official association. We are contemplating legal action against illegal copiers,once an official association is formed by all educational publishers, said Ravindra Wani,MD,Technical Publications. The Delhi University has banned photocopying of books after several big publishers approached the Delhi High Court which ruled that the Copyright Act shouldnt be violated.
We have been in this business for the past 30 years. We sell over 600 titles across India and 300 titles for Pune University alone, said Mr Jignesh Furia,MD,Nirali Prakashan. But book piracy is eating into our business. Almost 30% of our business is lost due to illegal photocopying of our books, Furia added.
Photocopying of academic books is an age-old tradition students have been practising to get books at cheaper rates. The spiral-binded black-and-white copies are even passed down the batches. But what surprises Ravindra Wani that photocopying rates havent changed in the past 10 years. Inflation has hit every other industry that I know. But photocopying a page still costs 30 paise, says Wani.
Technical Publications,which has been in business for the past two decades caters to 10 universities across India and sells 120 titles per year. They are losing approximately 30-40% of their business which amounts to Rs 50 lakh per year to piracy. In the past two years,there has been a considerable increase in piracy. Page reduction,that is summarizing two pages into one photocopied page,earlier cost extra. But now,they dont even charge extra. The quality of photostat pages have also improved a lot. All this has led to rampant use of photocopying and violation of the Copyright Act. said Wani.
We had conducted several raids in regions like Ahmednagar,Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Rajkot in Gujarat, said Sachin Shah,Managing Partner,Tech-Max Publication. Tech-Max publication takes out 750 titles per year across India of which 150 cater to students of UoP alone. At least 25% of our business is lost to illegal photocopying. The only way to curb piracy is by fighting it unitedly, said Shah.