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Campfire: Digital books are becoming as popular as print ones

Campfire : We had a chance to have an interesting discussion with a relatively new Indian company in the space of graphic novels & infotainment targeted towards kids and teenagers. We liked their idea, the content & most importantly their presentation style definitely seems to be unique. Here is an excerpt of the chat which we had with Campfire’s talented and creative team who are trying to do something new and different in Indian Publishing Industry.

comic books

Q. When was Campfire founded? Tell us more details about the founder & team behind Campfire.

We, at Campfire, publish graphic novels which are aimed at inspiring and educating children. An in-house team of over fifty people – including editors, illustrators, and colourists – work together to bring out unique illustrated books.

Campfire is owned by Mr Keshav Thirani who understood the market value of deep, meaningful, exciting, and well-told stories in comic or graphic version. In 2008, we launched our first five titles: The Time Machine, Robinson Crusoe, The Land that Time Forgot, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and The Master of the World. Now we have around fifty books to our credit including four workbooks and translations in many other languages.

Q. Who is your target audience? What kind of graphic books has Campfire produced since its inception?

Children between the age group of eight to fifteen years constitute our primary target audience. However, our books are created in such a fashion that they can be enjoyed by older readers too. Our books from the Classics, Biography, and Mythology categories make easy and enjoyable reads for those who are interested in literature but shy away from reading the bulky originals. They are also an easy way for parents to become familiar with texts that are included in school syllabi.

Q. What is the average price point of your book & which are your top selling category?

Our graphic novels are sold at Rs 195 in India. They are differently priced in the international market.

Our titles from the Classics and Mythology categories have had the maximum sales.

Who are your competitors in the Indian market and how is your book priced vis-a-vis your competitors?

The quality of content set us apart from others. Two pages are exclusively dedicated to providing our readers with interesting, entertaining, and educating information on any theme related to the story. To quote an example, in our adaptation of Don Quixote, our informative content pages talk about chivalry, the life of knights in the medieval ages, and a fun activity that teaches the child to create his own customized coat of arms.

Our prices are much lower than other graphic novels, which are usually priced between Rs 300-400.

Q. How has been the response towards your books in the market?

Our graphic novels have been loved by both kids and adults. We have participated in various school workshops and children’s book fairs, and the response has been very positive.

We have also had a fantastic reception in the international market. Some of our titles have been translated into Hindi, which has helped us reach many readers who fall in the non-English speaking category. Our titles have also been translated into Turkish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Mongolian, etc., thus enabling us to reach a larger international audience.

Q. Do you think printed books esp. non-syllabus ones still hold the interest of today’s generation kids esp. with the fad of digital & electronic form of infotainment?

Kids today are spoilt for choice when it comes to infotainment. There is no doubt that kids are more interested in the digital media than any other today. We like to stay up-to-date with the tastes of today’s generation, and thus our titles are available online for sharing and reading purposes. They can also be downloaded for PC/Mac, Blackberry, Android, iPod/iPads, etc.

Q. You also have digital version your books available, how has been the demand of print vs. digital content for your publication?

The response has been a mixed one. It all depends on availability, convenience, and comfort level. One can’t really say one form is better than the other. But yes, the digital is becoming as popular as the print version.

Q. What is your opinion on e-book acceptance in India and how prepared is Campfire to accept the invasion of digital over print?

The concept of e-books is taking over at a very rapid pace in India. Campfire titles are available in digital format as well and we have had good response so far. We try to provide whatever suits the tastes and convenience of our readers.

Q. What is your sales & distribution model? Where all are your books available globally?

We work with distribution partners across the world. Currently, our English language books are available in North America, Africa, Europe, Middle East and South Asia. We have also sold the rights to many of our titles, which has made it possible for readers from across the globe to read our titles in the language they are most comfortable with. Our titles have been translated into Mongolian, Hindi, Turkish, Czech, Hungarian, and Portuguese

Q. You also have an online channel for sales, how is your mix between online vs. offline sales model?

We constantly endeavour to make our titles available at bookstores across India. We have tie-ups with organisations that allow people to order books via SMS, phone calls, and websites. Readers can order books from our website too. We provide free shipping of our books to customers all over the world. Our books are also available on Amazon, Flipkart, and other e-tail stores. Apart from this, we constantly better our reach in the retail stores in every region.

Anything else which you would like to tell us about your company and its offering

Many of our exciting titles are gearing up for release. Sita: Daughter of the Earth, Ravana: Roar of the Demon King, and Draupadi: The Fire Princess from the Mythology category, and Nelson Mandela and Da Vinci: The Renaissance Man, from the Biography category are set to hit leading bookstores very soon.

Conducting fun workshops and drawing competitions in schools across Delhi is something we do on a regular basis. We have been participating in and supporting the Bookaroo children’s book festival for the past two years. The Delhi Book Fair 2010 will also have us as a major participant. Campfire will soon be coming out with a more interactive website too.

In case you’re interested to know more about their books or the company you can check it out at www.campfire.co.in

(With inputs from: Mr. Rajat Malhotra – Content, Ms. Eman Chowdhary – Editorial, Ms. Reema Singhal – International Marketing & Mr. Munendra Patanker – Domestic Marketing)

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