Flipkart and other online bookshops seem to have hit the old-fashioned shelves-and-ladder bookshops. The iconic Strand bookshop in Mumbai, run by its equally iconic owner, Mr Shanbag, now no more, never took more than two weeks to pay the publishers. Now, rues one publisher, it can take anywhere between four to six months. “It’s not only stand-alone bookshops like Strand. Even big chains like Landmark keep the publishers hanging for months,” says a top Mapin Publishing executive. What people do nowadays, says another publisher, is go to bookshops to browse, get back home and order the books on the Internet, as online vendors offer huge discounts. Legendary bookshop Gangaram’s shut shop recently in Bangalore—will others have to follow?
The publishing world is in a tizzy selecting the best titles as the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is taking entries. Poet Arvind Krishna Mehrortra, Ira Pande and Booker Prize jury member Alastair Niven has joined the dsc selecting committee. This edition of the big prize will be open for books published up to April 2012.