British publisher upbeat about Lankan booksellers’ network scope

Sri Lanka is a good market for books about wildlife because of the many tourists who come to the country to see the island’s wildlife, and also because of the strong local interest in the country’s natural history, says renowned British publisher, John Beaufoy, Managing Director of the London based John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd.

Beaufoy who was here in Sri Lanka recently spoke to The Sunday Observer, stressing that his establishment is fortunate in working with an excellent network of booksellers in Sri Lanka, including Vijitha Yapa, Sarasavi, Lake House and Barefoot, terming they make their publications/ books widely available.

Beaufoy studied history for his undergraduate degree, and then entered the publishing industry in 1978. He has worked for a number of publishers, including 20 years as Managing Director of New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. before starting his own company, John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., in 2008.

“I have been involved in publishing books about South and Southeast Asia for most of my career, and have travelled extensively in the region over the past 30 years. I am passionate about wildlife and conservation, and hope my publishing program helps to raise awareness of conservation issues around the region,” he said.

Speaking about animal and environment, he says, it is of great importance to highlight their values, especially, their contribution to Mother Earth, stressing the significance of biodiversity protection for the future of our planet.

Asked whether it was his first visit to the island nation, he said: “I’m fortunate enough to visit Sri Lanka every year, usually, in the first quarter of the year, so this is my annual trip.

My visit has three main objectives: (i) to promote the books I publish and inform Sri Lankan booksellers about my forthcoming publications, especially, those dealing with Sri Lanka, (ii) to meet up with my local authors (like Anslem de Silva) to discuss current and future projects, and (iii) to keep abreast of the books being published in the market. And also, to enjoy spending a few days in Sri Lanka!”

He said that his list is focused on books about wildlife and travel, particularly, in South and Southeast Asia.

The first book he published about Sri Lankan wildlife was Wild Sri Lanka by Gehan de Silva, which came out in 2013, and remains in print. This was followed by, A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka, and, A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of Sri Lanka, both written by Gehan de Silva, in 2015.

This month, they will publish, A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka by Gehan de Silva and A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Sri Lanka, by Anslem de Silva and Kanishka Ukuwela.

“We’re excited about the two new books, and have plenty more books about Sri Lankan wildlife in the pipeline,” he said. 

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