As young people spend more time on the Internet, are books still a part of their lives? Can traditional publishing survive Facebook and piracy? Ravi Singh, Editor-in-Chief, Penguin India, is optimistic. On World Book Day (April 23), he tells Salil Jose that the publishing industry will only grow in the years to come...Excerpts from an interview:
Are you optimistic about the future of publishing in India?
Definitely. There was a steady growth in the number of books published over the last six to seven years. This trend will continue. The market is growing. So I am optimistic.
Which genre of writing is going to be the most popular in India in the next one year?
I think non-fiction will be more popular than fiction. The books of Ramachandra Guha or Gurcharan Das were in demand over the past few years and this trend will continue.
Recently, Penguin has been publishing the works of controversial personalities like Jarnail Singh and Sister Jesme. Was that a conscious decision?
I don't think they are controversial books. Jarnail Singh's I Accuse was about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He has narrated the victimisation of his community after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Ever since he threw shoes on Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, he assumed the role of a spokesperson for the community. So getting him write about anti-Sikh violence was a conscious decision. Any publisher would do that. The same is the case with Sister Jesme's Amen: An Autobiography of a Nun. She has dealt with evils of the Catholic Church in Kerala.
What was the feedback to these books? Will we see more such books in the future?
These books have been well-received. You can expect more such books in future.
Young Indians spend a lot of time on the Internet and social networking websites. How has the Internet hit their reading/writing habits?
I am not sure about it. There is no data available. I don't think it has a direct impact on the reading or writing habits of people. However, we find the Internet a good platform for promoting our books. For example, we have Facebook pages for many authors. Also we use blogs to promote books.
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