“My mission is to put a book in every child’s hand,” says Rohini Nilekani. That’s an ambitious goal anywhere, but especially in India, where there are more than 300 million children, most of whom can’t afford books, or even read.
Ms. Nilekani is founder-chairperson of Pratham Books, a nonprofit publishing house that uses innovative ways to tap India’s vast market.
“The children we reach are first-generation readers,” she says. “Their parents probably don’t know how to read. They may never have bought a book in their lives.”
Set up in 2004, Pratham Books is an offshoot of Pratham, one of India’s largest nonprofit groups, which supports education across India.
“Pratham was already teaching millions of children, but there was no [high-]quality content out there. What there was was too expensive,” Nilekani says. So Pratham Books was set up to bring “as many [high-]quality books as possible, as cheaply as possible, in as many languages as possible, to the unreached child,” she says.