If anyone had doubts of how useful "hoop tricks" are in selling a book, they have just to look at the Harry Potter books that have almost never left the bestseller lists since they first appeared in the bookstores. It’s now being called the publishing event of the last century. And guess where the publishers expect the next century-defining moment in publishing to come from? India, as David Davidar told a wide-eyed audience in Chennai recently. Publishers at the Frankfurt Fair are convinced, according to the Penguin India CEO, that if there’s a book to beat Harry Potter, it will rise from the soil of Mother India.
And now book receptions are spilling over to our foreign missions as well. A swank little reception was held by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, in honour of its publication of a collection of poems, Milles Fleur. Edited by Kamlesh Sharma, the collection boasts of poems chosen by UN leaders, including Kofi Annan, who was the chief guest at the function.
In a bid to outdo each other, publishers are coming up with new ways to launch their books. At the recent launch of the Penguin series on Gods and Goddesses of India, K.P.S. Gill was one of the three panelists to discuss "Divine Faith: Does it Increase Professional Output?" Asked what he knew about spirituality, the dapper cop quipped: "Well, I imbibe a lot of spirits."