It started in 2011
Young Adult literature grew up and began to tackle topics like sexual harassment, psychosis, divorce, homosexuality and politics. In 2012, management author Subroto Bagchi will be out with a book that will provide the young Indian reader "an MBA at 16" by addressing questions on entrepreneurship and social responsibility. "The idea is to address (children) in a manner that treats them as equals," explains Bagchi, co-founder of Mind Tree, a technology solutions enterprise.
Meanwhile, more female writers started claiming the erotic literature genre for themselves. Venus Flytrap, an anthology of erotica by women authors will release in April. Published by Zubaan, it will have contemporary and pre-modern writings, including translations by poets Lal Ded (14th century) and Andal (8th century). Rosalyn D'Mello, the editor of the anthology, is also working on a book titled A Handbook For My Lover.
One of the most visible trends in 2011 was the boom in cheap, low-cost paperbacks, some selling at less than Rs 100. Vaishali Mathur, senior commissioning editor, Penguin, says Metro Reads, one such series started by Penguin for the reader on the move, fared quite well.
"We've ended the year successfully with Ravinder Singh's book, Can Love Happen Twice? selling over one lakh copies in the week of its release," she says. This indicates a boom in first-time authors, thanks to publishers willing to bet on sheer numbers of readers. While the quality of these paperbacks are not top-notch, it is interesting to note the industry report brought out by AC Nielsen under their BookScan programme, which revealed that Indian publishers like Jaico, Srishti, Rupa and Westland dominated the top 50 bestseller list more than foreign counterparts.
With Chetan Bhagat, Ravinder Singh, and Preeti Shenoy outselling the likes of John Grisham, Wilbur Smith and Steig Larsson, the bar of classifying a book a bestseller has been raised, as many Indian authors have seen sales in excess of one lakh copies per title.
Big hit in 2012: Publishers will sell e-books
2012 will only see Indian authors outsell foreign ones, as even foreign publishers will shift focus to publishing commercial Indian authors. Penguin, for instance, ended 2011 with the launch of Ravinder Singh's new book. 2012 will be a watershed year for e-books, with various Indian websites gearing themselves to offer these for download. We believe Amazon.com will launch their Indian website this year, and if they do so, they are bound to be aggressive in promoting the Kindle and their e-books. All in all, there is the promise of exciting times ahead in India, one of the few markets in the world where book sales are said to be growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent.
--Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO, Tata Westland, which already has 20 e-book titles in Amazon, and will add another 200 this year