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October 27, 2010

Forbes India profile of Rupa Publications

From the profile of India's largest publisher of English books, which releases over 250 titles a year.
But it was in 2004 that Rupa really hit it big with Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone. The book rewrote the rules of the publishing industry in India. An English book was considered a bestseller if it sold 10,000 copies. Five Point Someone and each of the other books he wrote sold a million. Priced at Rs. 95, it negated the threat of piracy.

How does Rupa do it? There are three key factors that help Rupa sell so many books. The first one is a very strong distribution chain. Mehra has a tie-up with A.H. Wheeler, the railway bookstore chain that has outlets across the length and breadth of India...Rupa has been growing at 50 percent for the last three years against an industry average of 30 percent.

...A key reason that Mehra is able to understand young India is because he is the same age as his readers...Authors get 10-15 percent royalty on sales of every book. If he feels that the author is a good bet, he pays them an advance.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports. Email the author at