Madhura says reading books has dramatically reduced in today’s youth. Kids who read books are treated like socially incapable nerds. That could be her observation and conclusion. Here are some things I observed.
Reading is just as prevalent as it was may be half a century ago. The sports guys still play sports, the float sham jetsam general nuisance characters still do it, the difference being their platform… from the roads they have migrated to the Facebook wall.
Coming back to reading, just get into a train be it Mumbai, Hyderabad or Delhi metro, you will spot to kinds of people type one who catch up with friends pull out a deck of cards and play a suit, or sing bhajans I call them general nuisance. The type two that shut the world, these make 60% of the crowd, some of them sleep and rest read, they could be reading the newspaper, kindle, and novel whatever. So much so the publishing houses have a genre they call Virar-Churchgate readers.
Maybe reading of western books has reduced. But there is a rise in reading of self-help books, and an emerging nexus of Indian Authors and readers. Being a traditional reader I had disdain for chetan bhagat that’s when a publisher friend said that Ravindra singh and Chetan Bhagat are not literature, but they are the Mills and Boons, from there the early reader matures into more serious reading. That would include philosophical books.
The reader genre is also diverse in the sense we have vernacular readers and English readers. The vernacular readers tend to be a bit more intellectual in the sense the genre is available. While the English reader is not yet weaned from the western books.
Owning a book is still a luxury, at the Publishing next conference 2013 the publisher of Vani Prakashan shared a facebook status update he says that it humbled him, frankly it brought me down from myself created pedestal the status was this.
“aaj pehli tankwa mili, ghar ke kiray dedi, papa ko paise bheje or pehli baar apne liye chaar kitabe khareedi” we are still grappling with first generation readers on one end. The over exposed urbania on the other.
One publishing house from Pune, I have forgotten the name, they have come out with online Marathi books that can be read on a tablet and they say it is very popular. Each book is only 99/Rs. this year they plan to launch the e-library where you can burrow the book for less than 50/Rs. the book will be on your device for a month and then it spontaneously burns out.
Increasing reading clubs and literary festivals. The tremendous success of flipkart and Amazon they all talk of a growing readership.
Anyone with doubts…you are welcome to join us…
The defence rests.