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SAGE India goes global

SAGE India - one of India's foremost educational publishers - is set to assume a global identity. Mishty Varma tells more.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 16:40 IST

Nearly a year after celebrating its silver jubilee, SAGE India, one of the leaders in higher-education publishing, has taken the step of assuming a more global identity.

At a press conference on January 22, Vivek Mehra, Managing Director and CEO, SAGE India, announced the incorporation of SAGE India into the global group. The incorporation happened as a result of the acquisition of 76 per cent of shares - about Rs 12 crores worth – by the USA-based publisher.

The acquisition was made possible with the change in Indian laws, said Blaise Simqu, President and CEO of SAGE Publications. In 1981, when SAGE India was set up, ‘Indian legislation (FERA) prevented international companies from holding the majority of shares in Indian companies,’ Simqu added. SAGE India is now a hundred per cent subsidy of SAGE.

As a result of the incorporation, SAGE India is all set to hugely increase its catalogue. The journal-publishing programme in India is poised to have a substantial expansion.

Tejeshwar Singh, Founder, SAGE India, former MD and non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors

‘We are bringing in US journals now,’ said Simqu. This would be excellent news for academicians and professionals for the journals will go beyond SAGE’s usual repertoire of social science titles and shall include scientific, technical and medical ones, as well. Vivek Mehra also mentioned that SAGE is also looking at legal books.

Mehra, then, went on to outline immediate and eventual key areas for the company’s growth in the wake of the incorporation. He said that the Indian publishing programme shall be strengthened by increasing the number of titles published annually by 20 per cent. ‘Response Books’s growth is similarly envisaged at 25 per cent while SAGE itself shall grow by about 15 per cent,’ he said.

SAGE is also poised to get into textbook publication, which shall be geared towards the domestic market. Tejeshwar Singh, one of the founders of SAGE India, added that the textbooks would be higher-and-professional-education-orientated. ‘We are very strong in professional education publishing,’ agreed Mehra.

Vivek Mehra is the new Managing Director and CEO of SAGE India

As part of the growth strategy, India’s offerings will be leveraged to SAGE globally. Stephen Barr, President, SAGE International and Managing Director, SAGE London, explained that about the time of inception of SAGE India, world scholarship used to be dominated by the USA and Europe. ‘Since then, Asian scholarship has risen dramatically and major contributors are Japan, China, India, South Korea and Taiwan,’ he said. 'You cannot be a global publisher if you discount education in India,' agreed Simqu.

SAGE also intends to have a presence in the vernacular market. On being asked about this, Vivek Mehra said that though the project was in the nascent stage, so far SAGE had identified Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi as key areas for growth. Vernacular publishing would initially begin with translations of SAGE’s best-selling titles and later on may include original vernacular publications, he added.