Bloomsbury set to start a new chapter as India market thrives

Publisher Bloomsbury is to set up a new business in India to take advantage of growing demand from the country's English-speaking middle class.

About 50 million Indians already buy English-language books, which is more than three times the book-buying population of the UK.

Best-sellers from the Bloomsbury stable include JK Rowling, Khaled Hosseini and the historian William Dalrymple.

The country is also one of the fastest-growing buyers in the world of Bloomsbury's Berg imprint of fashion books. Also, sales of textbooks for schools and universities are growing enormously, ranging from the Arden Shakespeare books to accountancy and legal tomes.

Bloomsbury books have been distributed in India by Penguin for the past 25 years.

Executive director Richard Charkin, who in the past chaired Macmillan in India, said: "We have had a great relationship with Penguin who have done a marvellous job. But this is the next stage of our development in a market where 250 million middle-class people speak English and education has a very high priority."