A Garage Takes Off
Publishers are a cautious lot. No matter how rosy the predictions of Indian readers soon overtaking the rest of the world in buying books in English, they still insist on a first print run of 3,000 copies or less, with an occasional gamble at a first print run of 5,000 or even (gasp!) 10,000. “Where are the distribution networks and chains?” is the usual excuse. But online bookstores tell another story. In just two-and-a-half years, Flipkart has grown from a garage enterprise to India’s biggest online bookstore, with 4 million titles and an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore, selling a book a minute only in English. Their USP: penetrating small towns with no bookstores (their next target is reaching remote villages across the country), free shipping and delivery within 3 days.
Here’s yet another proof that Chetan Bhagat wears the crown as No. 1 bestselling author (in a recent survey, all the four most popular books in India were by him). He rules in online stores as well. According to Flipkart, Bhagat’s latest, 2 States: The Story of My Marriage, is their top seller, followed by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Rujuta Diwekar’s Don’t Lose your Mind, Lose your Weight and Rashmi Bansal’s Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
One of the perils of writing a book titled Learning to Forget: The Anti-Memoirs of Modernity is that it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue. But author Dipankar Gupta wasn’t in a mood to forgive the socialite who came up to him at a book launch raving about his book whose title she couldn’t recall. “It’s called War and Peace,” the professor retorted.