Readers paradise: Writers hail social media for spurt in book sales

PTI  | Deccan Chronicle

Nation, Current Affairs

Visibility still remains a problem with millions of books online

Picture for representational purpose.

Panaji:  With a boom in self-publishing, e-books and online sale, Indian writers are finding readers from unexpected places, breaking the traditional barriers of physical sale of their works through book stores.

“Social media has opened up immense opportunities to extend the life and soul of a work and I am very happy that social media is there because it is like other forms of communication,” said Sudeep Chakravarti, the author of best-selling novel ‘Tin Fish’ (2005), said on the sidelines of Writers and Readers Festival 2014 which began on Saturday.

“Sometimes in print (newspapers or magazines) due to matter of ownership or ideology the opinion gets suppressed. Social media is far more democratic space,” he said.

“Social media is very good for amplification and to overcome traditional blocks. I can, even on my own, reach out to community,” said the journalist-turned-author.

“The contracts signed with publishers now have separate clause for internet and digital sale of books both as e-book and online sale of your work. Sometimes the book is out of stock in the book store, that time it is unlikely that you will come back, but with the online ordering being an option that is now available,” he said.

The author of books like Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country and Highway 39 Journey through a fractured land, claimed that his online and offline sales are pegged at 50-50 per cent.

India Psychedellic writer Siddharth Bhatia says that online sale is now a fact of life. “I find more and more people who buy my book online. The moment you order book online, you will be able to get it next day,” he said.

Mr Bhatia, however, feels that the concept of e-book fits in only for certain kind of works and not all.

“I have mixed feelings when it comes toe-book. My book Amar Akbar Anthony basically comprises of text. I also have another coffee table book with photographs. The coffee table book will not work as e-book. Only problem with online (e-book) is that touch and feel of the book, where you open the book, pick it up smell the paper, is not there,” he said.

Moreover, when you go to book store, you go with an intention of buying one book, but you end up buying five to ten books. That will never happen online, said Mr Bhatia.