The functions of the Publication Section of Sangeet Natak Akademi are (a) to publish books as recommended by the Publication Committee; (b) to bring out the Akademi's journal Sangeet Natak; (c) to administer grants-in-aid enabling authors, editors, and non-commercial publishers to bring out books and periodicals on the performing arts; and (d) to process grants supporting research projects leading to published books. Assessment of manuscripts, editing and production of printed material, and sales and management of stocks are subsumed within these functions.
At present, the Akademi has some fifty books in print, and a back list of Sangeet Natak going back to 1965, when the periodical was begun. A few hundred books and periodicals from other publishers, in most of India's major literary languages, have also appeared to date benefiting from the publication grants offered by Sangeet Natak Akademi.
In addition to the functions mentioned above, the Publication Section has traditionally lent a helping hand in the preparation of texts for varied purposes such as programme notes used in literature for shows, citations for the Akademi's Awards, speeches for ceremonies, and other miscellaneous matter for (non-print) communication. For many years, it was solely responsible for the design and production of all programme literature and advertisement artwork. It still examines bills from printers for a variety of printed material.
With about sixty published titles (including those out of print) and a long back list of Sangeet Natak, the Akademi's publishing activity has still been a low-key, modest affair. The Akademi has lacked the wherewithal for production and distribution of books on a larger scale, and therefore it has also been isolated from mainstream publishing activity.
In recent years, however, there have been significant changes in this regard, ushered in by the late Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi, Ram Niwas Mirdha. Both in respect of production and distribution of books, the Akademi now works in tandem with the publishing industry, and also promotes its books by participating in books fairs. These initiatives have boosted the Akademi's output of books and given its work a higher profile in the book trade. During the 2009¬-10 financial year, Sangeet Natak Akademi was able to bring out a record six titles in association with publishers in the private sector. These books are: Hindustani Music and Aesthetics Today: A Selective Study, Avenues to Beauty: Eight Essays in Aesthetics, and Hindustani Sangeet: Some Perspectives, Some Performers, all by S.K. Saxena; Temple Musical Instruments of Kerala by L.S. Rajagopalan; Himachal ke Prachinatama Sangeet Vadya by Nand Lal Garg; and Indian Cinema in Retrospect, edited by R.M. Ray. (The last title is a collection of papers from the Akademi's Film Seminar of 1955, reprinted from an earlier edition.)
At the same time, to promote books in the sphere of performing arts, the Akademi organized an exhibition and sale of books on music, dance and drama in association with the Federation of Indian Publishers. Titled 'Performance and the Printed Word', this event aimed at bridging the realms of performance and books, showing the way to benefit from books in the practice and enjoyment of music, dance, and drama.