Mayapura, West Bengal—Trustees of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), the publishing arm of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, reported today at ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission Annual General Meeting in Mayapura, West Bengal, that its international sales for the year 2007 had increased by 28% over the previous year.
The BBT exclusively publishes the books and other source materials of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of ISKCON. North European BBT Trustee, Brahma Muhurta Dasa, gave a one-hour report highlighting the year’s most significant achievements. His report was followed by a two-hour discussion on the opportunities and challenges for increasing book sales in 2008 and beyond.
Approximately thirty GBC Members and twenty other ISKCON and BBT officials attended the presentation. Also present for the meeting were a dozen of the most successful book distributors from around the world.
Brahma Muhurta’s power point presentation highlighted the Trust’s progress on six continents. Color charts, graphs and photographs were interspersed with video clips of book distribution events in Stockholm, London and Los Angeles.
The most surprising news perhaps, was that 2007, nearly 76% of BBT sales were made in India. Also, India reported printing more than 1,600,000 Bhagavad-gitas last year.
“This is a phenomenal increase in book publication and sales for India,” said Brahma Muhurta, “but it also challenges our other international divisions to keep up with India.”
Much credit was given to the congregations of India’s major temples, including New Delhi, Juhu (Mumbai), and Chowpatty (Mumbai). Each of those congregations took part in ISKCON’s international book marathon during the month of December. December is known as Gita-Jayanti month in India, during which Lord Krishna is understood to have spoken the Bhagavad-gita. Each of those temples reported over 150,000 “maha big” books (large hard bound volumes) sold in that period.
Both Radhanatha Swami and Gopal Krishna Goswami, GBC representatives for much of India, offered appreciation for their congregational members who have taken Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to distribute his BBT books very seriously.
“I have never seen our Chowpatty temple members more inspired,” said Radhanatha Swami, “than they were during the 2007 December book marathon.”
Additional highlights of the BBT report for 2007 included:
The final two hours of the BBT presentation were facilitated by Navina Nirada Dasa, a seasoned book distributor from Switzerland, and Vijaya Dasa, ISKCON’s Minister of Book Distribution. Ten other leading distributors contributed to a dialogue with the GBC in discussing how book sales can increase during 2008 and beyond.
Discussion focused on the need to facilitate increased book sales by congregational members, supporting ISKCON members that have dedicated their lives to the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books, and increasing training and other infrastructure for book distribution.
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