The Biblio Charitable Trust

Special Grants

Grant Period: Over two years

The Biblio Charitable Trust was set up in order to upgrade the social and cultural environment of India in particular through raising awareness of literature, arts and ideas by creating an intellectual forum.

The Biblio Charitable Trust was set up in 1998 to carry forward the work of Biblio: A Review of Books, a bi-monthly magazine committed to creating awareness about the arts and ideas. From its inception, Biblio took great care to communicate debates in the arts in a language that was not threatening to the lay reader. As a result, its readership is not exclusively restricted to the academia.

Some time back, the Trust began to appreciate the need to look beyond print circulation as a means for accessing a niche magazine like Biblio. To make Biblio commercially viable, the Trust decided to leverage the advantages of the Internet and set up a free-access website in 2001, hoping to increase the visibility of the magazine and acquire more subscribers. This grant supported the creation of a comprehensive digital archive of the Biblio magazine, which serves as an important educational resource for academics and students in India and abroad.

To build on the magazine’s popularity within academic circles, the Trust has made the Biblio archive available online at a cost. They introduced a new electronic subscription model in addition to the existing models for individuals and institutions. Some articles are freely accessible to all visitors to give them a sense of what to expect from the website. The rest of the articles have to be purchased.

The Trust mounted a multi-pronged marketing campaign to expand the subscription base, increase advertising and sponsorship support for the print magazine, and extend the distribution network. Since the increase in revenue from the archive and the print magazine will depend on how effectively this marketing plan is implemented, the IFA grant supported the costs of hiring a marketing assistant dedicated to meeting annual targets for subscription and sales. The marketing assistant compiled an exhaustive database of libraries, institutions and research centres in India and abroad, with a strong focus on Departments and Centres of South Asian Studies, corresponded and followed-up with potential institutional subscribers, and liaise with bookshops and came up with plans for increasing the visibility of the Biblio brand and augmenting the sale of the print magazine.

The grant succeeded in setting in motion system and processes that over time will generate more income and enable the magazine to make profits in the near future.