There has recently been a number of books released by Indian Fashion Designers, Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla and Wendell Rodricks being the latest. There are plenty of credible rumors that some other senior designers are going to be publishing their own books soon. Should the designers not concentrate on making the beautiful clothes? Why are they writing books? Does it make economic sense for an Indian Designer?
The designers that have released books have something interesting to say, is an assumption given their many years in the Indian Fashion Industry. The Designers mentioned above certainly have interesting things to say. So there is an inherent logic in writing a book for the designers. Should they concentrate on only making clothes? Not necessarily, the branding that the designer can achieve through the books is quite substantial. The book also features beautiful looking pictures of their creations over the years, essentially becoming a showcase of their best creations.
The economics of the book, are easy to measure since there is a cost and a selling price. Authors seem to make anything from 8-15% (and the publishing houses 8-10% for the curious). The margins that the Indian designers make on Indian clothes are certainly higher than net 15%. And at the end of the day, they are designers, so this is not going to make them consistent money unlike a Jeffrey Archer. Perhaps they do it because there is a burning desire to tell it all and share their experience with the world. I'd like to think that the reasons are difficult to judge, but there are other financial benefits involved.
Press coverage, launch parties and book signings (held at prestigious locations) that are obviously associated with the formal launch of the book. The opportunity cost of being present at all these places and the implicit opportunity costs are certainly substantial. If the designers wrote an average book that does not make as much money or does not sell extensively, the publicity generated by each of the ancillary events should alone justify the economics. Of course, all of this is possible only because these Indian Designers have spent years perfecting their craft and dressing some of the most well known celebrities in the world. If they can gain some benefit from this effort in the form of a book, why not?