Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 22, July 1998 


Afro-Asian Book Council mounts digital publishing workshop

Abul Hasan

Abul Hasan is Director of the Afro-Asian Book Council, 4835/24 Ansari Road, New Delhi 110002, India. Fax: +91 11 326 7437; e-mail:

In keeping with its programme to organise training courses on under-exposed but vitally important themes, the Afro-Asian Book Council mounted a workshop on digital publishing, 10-12 February 1998, to coincide with the New Delhi World Book Fair. The objective of the workshop was to introduce publishers and printers from the developing world to the use of computers in book design, production and marketing, and to prepare them for the 21st century in which CD ROMs, the internet and multi-media communications will be used abundantly.

The workshop attracted 35 participants from India, Bangladesh, Singapore and China, comprising authors, editors, publishers, book promoters and distributors and those dealing with packaging, stationery and magazines. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr S Nad, Chairman of the National Book Trust, India, who advised the participants to keep on updating their knowledge of the subject through all possible means including interaction among themselves.

The workshop began with a keynote speech by a well-known printing expert, who set the ball rolling by asserting that the latest communication technology, like any other technology, was only meeting the needs of the society. Traditional printing technology need not be afraid of it, but should integrate it wherever possible and beneficial. Mr Naresh Khanna, Editor, Indian Printer and Publisher, explained how using computers in book production and distribution saves time and improves quality. While discussing the multifarious functions of digital publishing, including desktop publishing, Mr Khanna also outlined its limitations.

The workshop included practical demonstrations of editing, designing and pre-press work on a computer as well as `on-demand publishing', producing a whole book in a day. The dominating issue was how a publishing professional reacts to change: what are the intellectual perspectives and tools necessary to grasp this change, and how to enhance one's objective or business by taking advantage of the technological possibilities.

Mr Abul Hasan, Director of the Afro-Asian Book Council, emphasised that traditional and modern technology have to co-exist; both systems are complementary and have their own advantages and limitations. Publishers must be aware of different alternatives, especially in the pre-press sector, so as to choose the best to suit their own resources and requirements. [end]  [BPN, no 22, 1998, p 6.]

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