Books That Teach – An Interview With Goyal Publishers
GOYAL Publishers & Distributors Pvt. Ltd. was started in 1987 by the second-generation entrepreneur Ashwani Goyal. The publishing house caters exclusively to learners of foreign languages and has partnered with leading publishers across the globe. It works in close tandem with cultural institutes like the Goethe-Institut (Max Mueller Bhawan), Alliances Françaises, Instituto Cervantes, the Japan Foundation, the American Centre, Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Korean Cultural Centre and the Italian Cultural Institute amongst others to popularize and assist the learning of foreign languages. An interview with Ashwani Goyal is reproduced below :
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I graduated as a student of Tourism Management from Delhi Universtity and acquired a diploma in Marketing from Eastern Airlines, Miami, U.S.A. I am a passionate traveler and have been fascinated with foreign travel, language and culture. At the age of 18, I made my first trip out of India overland on a motorbike from Delhi to London sponsored by Ministry of Education and Culture. After travelling across Europe and after a brief stay in USA, I came back to India in 1987 and joined my family business of books. In 1992, I started working with foreign languages and the Company has since been catering specifically to the needs of foreign language learners in the Indian subcontinent.
GOYAL Publishers caters exclusively to the niche sector of books for learners of foreign languages. Can you please tell us how was the organization founded and why it chose to cater to this demographic?
After spending few years in the book trade in India, I discovered the extreme shortage of foreign language learning books in the Indian market. At the time, all foreign language institutes like Alliances Françaises, Goethe-Institut, Japan Foundation etc. were either using black and white photocopies or had a system of lending the books in the beginning of each term and taking them back at the end.
I met a few leading foreign language publishers at the IPA (International Publishers Association) Conference in New Delhi in 1992 where I explained to them the problems faced by the average Indian student due to the high price of imported books. Although Indian students wanted to buy and study from nice colourful books, the prices were too prohibitive.
It was a very small market then and it took a lot of effort and trips to France and Germany to convince the publishers to give us the appropriate licenses. Eventually, I did succeed in producing and publishing the first low-price edition of German and French textbooks for Indian students. From then I started my company GOYAL Publishers & Distributors Pvt. Ltd. with the motto of providing Quality Foreign Language Books at Affordable Prices and with the trademark GOYAL SaaB (SaaB standing for South Asian Affordable Books).
Thus began our journey in this field and it has grown manifold since. We have expanded to almost all foreign languages including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese etc. Today, we are a one-stop shop for all language learning needs. We supply directly to almost all language institutes, cultural centres, universities and colleges and also run exclusive bookshops for French, German and Spanish inside Alliance Française (Ahmedabad and Chandigarh); the Goethe Institute (New Delhi, Pune) and Instituto Cervantes (New Delhi).
We represent over 24 European publishers in the Indian subcontinent and are the single largest importers of French books in India. French, of course, has always been the # 1 foreign language in terms of number of students and popularity.
Our association with Alliance Française dates back to 1994 when we produced the textbook used by the Alliances at that point of time i.e. Le Nouveau Sans Frontières. Since then, we have been successfully supplying textbooks and reference books to over 28 Alliances Françaises in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In 1996, we opened our first French bookshop Librairie GOYAL inside AF Delhi which was located in South Extension at that time. While this outlet was closed due to space constraints when AF Delhi shifted to Lodhi Road, we still continue to serve them and also have two bookshops inside AF Ahmedabad and AF Chandigarh.
You recently launched Bon Voyage, a textbook for professional French in the tourism and hospitality industry. Can you please give us a few insights into what goes into making a textbook for a foreign language especially one which focuses on a certain domain?
Yes, we are very happy that H.E. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India accepted to host and launch Bon Voyage at his residence last month. It took us approximately 3 years to make this textbook and we were constantly working on it.
The making of a textbook in a foreign language is quite challenging. We were able to achieve this herculean task thanks to the efforts of the three experienced authors (Malini Gupta, Usha Ramachandran and Vasanti Gupta); the valuable feedback of Mr. Pierre Yves Meunier and Mr. Jean François Ramon (both from AF Delhi) and the varied advice of teachers, students and friends teaching French along with the inputs of professionals from the tourism industry.
To put it in the words of the Ambassador, “The book is not only a beginner’s book but also a skilling book”. So it was all the more difficult. The book’s USP is that it can be used by professionals who are beginning to learn French.
The book is created to cater to the needs of professionals working in the field of tourism and hospitality and has been launched at a time when the exchange of tourists between the two countries is rising exponentially. So we do hope that the book will be a useful resource for the growing needs of teachers and students of French for tourism.
Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you would like to talk about?
There are many new projects we are working on. 2017 will see some more fine products from us on which we have been working for quite some time. Do look out for films for the school classroom and exciting products for language learners.
Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal