Dr. Harald Henzler from Munich is the founder and Managing Director of smartdigits.
In a conversation with Kabuliwala Kamal Pruthi, Dr. Henzler shares his initial motivation of getting into the publishing industry, the differences he sees in German and Indian publishing scene, the details of his current publishing projects and the accounts of his fruitful professional ventures in Mumbai.
Share your own untold story and journey into the publishing industry.
The publishing business has fascinated me from the first days of a stage while I was still studying at the university. Publishing is all about communication and the intention to leave something valuable for others, something that might last for more than one life. And it is all about betting for an idea, a book, an app, a tool to be more successful than any other. I like the variety of people and the open minded culture.
What are you current working on? What publishing projects keep you busy these days?
It is all about publishing in the digital age and how to cope with the new possibilities. We work on a platform for social reading that enables teachers and pupils to interact differently. The possibilities we have now to combine the world of printed books with all the possibilities of interaction, multimedia and rapid development are great.
What are the top 2 visions of your organization smartdigits for the coming year?
One is to improve our own platform and to combine better our work as consultants and the presentation of our program and the book we wrote.
The other is to improve our own tools for shaping the right business model.
What are the 2 major differences you see in the publishing scene of Germany and that of India?
Germany has a highly developed infrastructure for printed books as well as for publishers and for distributers. India has the chance to grasp the possibilities of the digital age without the legacy problem.
Have you been to India before? How have your experiences been?
Yes, I have been to India for several workshops and to work together with a partner from Mumbai on our platforms flipintu and lectory. I always enjoy the enthusiastic spirit in developing new ideas and the friendliness of the people. The spiritual tradition can be experienced in so many situations and places and makes every travel being a special one.
What two key messages would you like to convey to the Publishing Industry of India through your talks at Publishing Next 2016?
“Stay hungry, stay foolish”, as Steve Jobs once said, seems to me a good message, if you combine it with useful tools you need in digital publishing. It is not a rocket science we are talking about. You just have to follow some rules, use some experienced tools and try out.
What is your opinion about annual events like Publishing Next? What role are they playing in taking the Indian publishing industry one step ahead?
At the moment nobody knows what the publishing world will look like in three or five years. Many things are changing quickly, some do not, and we do not know which are which. Therefore we have to exchange experiences, ideas, discuss. Events like Publishing Next are necessary to find our way.
In Cochi people were able to discuss the different topics of publishing. The variety of experts in editorial issues as well as in technology and business models was great. The organization was perfect and gave chance to discuss solutions and opportunities with others to make up one’s mind. Any exchange about publishing and the different cultures are fruitful and help develop the markets.
Publishing Next is an annual gathering of publishers, authors, editors, translators, librarians, book retailers, printers, technologists, service providers and policymakers from all over India and abroad. The event is organized by Goa-based CinnamonTeal Publishing, since 2011.
Dates: 15th 16th 17th September 2016
Venue: Kochi, Kerala