It’s not just Penguin, but even HarperCollins and Random House who agree that it makes sense to sign up Ramachandra Guha for Rs 97 lakh. The losing bids by HarperCollins and Random House went up to Rs 1 crore plus. So what’s the maths? First, Guha is by now a brand name who has delivered one bestseller—his India After Gandhi has sold 50,000 copies in India itself. And he’s bringing seven books as he crosses over to Penguin, at least three of them (a two-volume biography of Gandhi and an 800-plus-page anthology, Makers of Modern India) expected to cross 40,000 in hardback, giving full returns to the advance he’s getting in instalments.
The Gong Strikes
Whatever little buzz that might have lent some excitement to the London Book Fair disappeared when Penguin grabbed newcomer Aatish Taseer’s first novel, The Temple-Goers, for an undisclosed amount ahead of the fair opening on April 20. The "cool new urban voice of modern India" will be published by Penguin in March next year.
Every year the Bookseller magazine in UK comes out with a prize for the year’s oddest title. This year’s winner: The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60 milligram Containers of Fromage Frais. We could do better with titles of some Indian books that arrive at our desk. How about Soul Search Engine Till Now... A Brief Story of Life, the Universe and Everything in 99 Pages: A Story Fourteen Billion and Thirty-Six Years in the Making, by Al Raines, published by Undercover Utopia Books.