Established in 2011, Publishing Next was conceived as a forum where publishing professionals could come together and discuss threadbare the issues that they face at work, or in the industry they worked in. While it is an industry conference, focused on issues of concern to the book trade, it also maintains a broad perspective and seeks to foresee the future of book publishing.
Through its many sessions and workshops, the conference facilitates an empathetic understanding of the many challenges publishers face as they strive to cope with the twin demands of keeping their businesses afloat in a very competitive market while also responding to the demands of a technologically-savvy readership. A key concern has been, and remains, the role of independent publishers in this scenario, and the important issue of bibliodiversity, in an environment that seems to favour monocultures of the mind.
Publishing Next also allows best practices to be shared among its participants, and new technologies to be introduced. Alongside serious discussions on a range of topics, the unique atmosphere in which the conference is held allows friendships and business alliances to develop.
Publishing Next, ensures a) a gender balance in the composition of its panels; b) that new voices in the industry are given an opportunity and c) that publishers in regional languages have a stronger presence here than at any other publishing forum in India.
Over eight editions, the conference has brought together publishers and other publishing professionals, from publishing houses, big and small, often just one-person entities, drawn from across India, those publishing books in its various languages, besides publishers from abroad. Those who have attended include publishers, editors, translators, illustrators, literary agents, bookstore owners, librarians, printers, entrepreneurs, sales managers, distributors, technology service providers, and others. Publishing Next has had speakers from almost every published language in India, including, but not limited to, Assamese, Bengali, Maithili, Santhali, Konkani, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Kashmiri, and Hindi.
In addition, the Publishing Next conference organizes the Publishing Next Industry Awards. Established in 2014, these Awards, the only ones of their kind in India, were presented in 11 categories in 2020, and seek to reward innovation and leadership in the Indian book trade.