The Book Mine introduces the kid reader to an archive of fascinating information and artworks, which acts as a value-add along with the title itself
Parents and teachers might give it a thumbs up. More importantly, kids might be spoilt for choice the next time they pick up a classic. Hachette India has introduced a novel idea that will get this target audience up and running to bookstores. Called the Book Mine, it's a value-add set of 32 or more pages that carries information about the author, character sketches, posters as well as nuggets and trivia related to the title. All of this piggyback rides along with the actual story within the book. We spoke to Vatsala Kaul-Banerjee, director-children's and reference books, Hachette India about why such concepts work, and the wide, new world that it opens up for not just kid readers.
A cover mini-poster map of Rajula's adventure trail
How did The Book Mine take off?
The idea behind The Book Mine was to archive and offer as a kind of library for young readers, the most valuable of old and contemporary classics in a super-attractive way that would not spell "old" and "boring" to today's generation of readers. Now, because many of these may have been written about a time or location removed from the young readers' environment, we introduced the Book Mine Gems (32 or more pages) with information about the author and his/her times, fascinating facts about the content that intrigues and engages the reader and goes beyond merely reading the book. The Book Mine Gems also have interesting questions that encourage deep rather than superficial reading and fun facts that can become discussion points among good readers, as well as in classroom and project situations.
This particular title includes extra elements like a cover poster and character sketches; will this act as the equivalent to Extras that one would come across in a DVD pack?
Perhaps, but our extras are far from being gimmicky; they are very real value-adds. The cover mini-poster adds a special extra visual dimension to the content -- in Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E Nesbit, it's a depiction of how a play was put up at the historic Globe theatre in Shakespeare's times; in Rajula and the Web of Danger, it depicts beautifully the landscape and important locations through which the story moves; in Koni by Moti Nandy, translated by Sumana Mukherjee, it shows swimming strokes; in Nathaniel Hawthorne's A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, it depicts Greek mythological characters... The character clues and fun facts are well-researched; Koni, for instance, has rare information about Calcutta of those times. Rajula and the Web of Danger has detailed information on the history of the epic ballad of Rajula-Malushahi, still sung by itinerant bards.
What is the bandwidth of stories that will be featured in this imprint from Hachette India's books?
There is no fixed brief. The sky is the limit. Anything we feel is valuable and unusual enough to be treasured will be sought to be featured. So forthcoming is a range from the Lu Quartet mystery stories by Nalini Das, which gained huge popularity in the iconic Sandesh, to the cricket-centered Miracle Dilu by Moti Nandy to Tagore's writings for children.