Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's time to market India's rich literature

A DNA report: For a decade or so, April 23 has been World Book and Copyright Day. But through centuries, this has been a significant day in the world of literature. It is, for example, the day of Shakespeare's birth and death, the day Miguel Cervantes died, the day Vladimir Nabokov was born. And now it is the day that celebrates books and copyright laws that protect writers and their work.

As I write this, on the eve of the Book and Copyright Day, this year's London Book Fair is wrapping up. A bit ironical, given that this fair is all about selling and buying rights of books. I guess serious business doesn't need tokens.

This is a trade fair, where business is transacted in hushed tones in dignified settings, individual books are not bought, only the right to publish or distribute them in different regions of the world, or in other media, are acquired. Unlike our bustling book fairs for readers -- especially the Calcutta Book Fair -- here there are no boisterous families having fun, no whining kids demanding comic books from a stoutly protesting parent, no lovers shuffling along the stalls browsing, teasing, impressing each other, no elderly readers wielding a list and diligently searching for that one book that they can't find, no youngsters bent over untidy stacks trying to trim their desires to suit their pocket. This is a business zone.

Read the full story here

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