Even as digital books have changed the landscape of publishing and reading in the West, Indian publishers believe the concept of e-books is not a priority for Indian readers.
The fourth session ‘The Business of Books’ on day two of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) featured representatives from various publishing houses who concurred that traditional and digital books can co-exist in a ‘nascent’ industry. The session was moderated by Unisun Publications director Annie Chandy.
Karthika V K, Publisher and Chief Editor at HarperCollins Publishers India, said the focus of Indian publishers now was to promote reading in daily lives and improve literacy. “Perhaps, 10 years from now, we can look at e-books for our readers,” Karthika said.
The advent of digitisation of books, especially with the launch of Amazon’s Kindle (handheld device for reading books), has made an impact on book sales in the United Kingdom, said Caroline Newbury, Head of Publicity and Marketing at Random House Publishers India.
“The problem exists even in the UK, where traditional bookstores are finding it difficult to sell books, with Amazon aggressively working in this segment. The sales of e-books is correlational with the launch of Kindle,” Newbury said.
Prakash Kambathalli from Ankita Book House and Gautam Padmanabhan from Westland were on the panel in the session.
Makkala Koota with Noni Children sat wide-eyed at the Bangalore Literature Festival-Makkala Koota, as they wondered what happened to Sringeri Srinivas on the day he wanted to cut his hair. Rohini Nilekani, the author of ‘Annual Haircut Day’ had the children in splits as she narrated the story about this character and his encounters. “Children love crazy characters, especially crazy grown-ups,” said Nilekani, who writes books under the pen name Noni.