21 May 2020 | 05:26am IST
Maybe a new day beckons
The day is not far perhaps when an author will present his latest work online and where fans can purchase it by paying a fee. It has already happened with a new Hindi film to be premiered on a live streaming platform. Cafe spoke to authors and publishers to learn what they felt about this.
It is the obvious thing to state that these are
strange times. It can be confidently said that there may not be people around
you who may have been alive when the world went through something similar. Like
the Spanish flu in 1918.
corona virus is now spreading death and destruction around the world.
as we know it has changed. One of the pleasures of spending time at home was
reading a book.
non fiction or perhaps even reading and gaining knowledge that could perhaps
benefit you in your career. But even that could change.
Ahmed the man behind Broadway Book Store smiled when asked how business was. He
said over a period of time business had improved considerably. Given that the
lockdown was not as strict as it was earlier people he said were now visiting
his store. Khaleel said “ They are not coming like before but yes I get around
15 people coming in every day. And they all buy something. No one comes to just
look around and check the collection. No one brings their children’. He however
said business had to get better and he was serioulsy contemplating the idea of
going on line. He said “ It will help me reach an even bigger audience. I have
over one lakh titles in the store in various subjects and it will take me a
month or two to complete all the work requred before one goes online”. Khaleel
said he understood that the world in which we all lived had changed and his
business would have to learn to adjust to the changing times.
Frederick Noronha of
Goa 1556 an alternate publishing house was of the opinion that people in India
and more so in Goa were not into reading ebooks. Perhaps, he said a small
percentage in the younger generation. he went on to say they were generally not
used to paying for online content, so while creating paper books was
increasingly becoming costly, ebooks were not filling the void. he said “ We
recently tried to share some out of print books online, gratis and at no
charge. The response was so-so, despite these being fairly good, Goa books. I
think the problem lies elsewhere we as a society don’t read enough.Till quite
recently, books were doing fairly well in Goa. But less-than-helpful support to
new writers and publishers from government authorities, added to our poor
reading of Goa’s very own stories, àre squeezing the field, and I feel we’re
going to see the impact of that”. That may be the opinion of publishers but
then what do the writers feel about all this.The doyen of Goan literature
Damodar Mauzo said he was presently involved in the printing of a collection of
short stories. When asked if he would consider going online to present his
work, he said it was an idea whose time had come. he said “ I may like a good
old book in my hands bu the world out there goes online a lot. It would help me
tap a larger audience. I have just completed a novel and I have to find ways to
launch it so that I can reach out to a large audience. The process is being
worked out”. Another author Ramesh Ghadi said he intended to also look at the
digital world seriously but it would need a great deal of thinking before he
decided to do so. He said “ I dont know how to go about presenting my work
online but it is a possibility I will have to seriously consider in the
A publisher who
retails books on line since 2016 is Leonard Fernandes co-founder of The Dogears
Business, he said was
pretty much close to normal. Leonard said “ People are coming at almost the
same rate as they did before the virus. Our sale on line is moving along
smoothly but there has been no increase in sales online due to the virus. We
get orders for books from people living in the rest of the country and
outside”. Speaking about writers presenting their work online, he said the
modalities involved were way too may and that was why publishers were present.
he said “ There is a lot of meta data that has to be uploaded, and if and when
orders come, they have to be fulfilled. Fulfilling it requires meeting various
standards. All this cannot be done by the writer”.
as we know may change and perhaps some software will be launched that will help
writers meet their target audience directly. Earlier movies would be screened
in theatres where people would sit , eat popcorn and be entertained for a
couple of hours. Now a movie featuring Amitabh Bachchan has gone directly to a
streaming service, sidelining the theatre. Perhaps the author will do that
next, sideling the publisher.