Waking up to international market trends, Marathi publishers are slowly diversifying publishing and promotion strategies. With applications, e-books or conceptualising an online portal for Marathi books, similar to Flipkart, publishers are increasingly taking to the Internet.
“We cannot wish away the use of Internet as a medium of ordering and reading books. Our young readers always ask us about e-books and apps of our books. In the next 15 days, we will publish around 1,000 titles online,” said Akhil Mehta, owner of Mehta publishing, on the sidelines of the 86th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan at Chiplun which saw participation by more than 70 small and big publishers. Mehta had a stall at the festival. “We will also have our own app,” he added.
Seven well-known Marathi publishers from Pune and Mumbai have come together to form a website where readers can order books online. They also plan to enter the e-book market. “There is a huge young market which has no time to go to bookshops and purchase books, but wants to read. Through our website, we will allow people to order books online, which will be delivered to their homes,” said Devesh Abhyankar of Continental publishers of Pune, which also participated in the three-day Marathi festival. Jyotsna publishing is also part of this group.
Bookganga.com, an online book store, had the only stall at the festival without books. The website has 7,000 e-books online and 75,000 titles, which they deliver home.
Other well-known Marathi publishing houses such as Mouj and Rajhans have also started taking baby steps to the e-way. Vinayak Bhagwat, head of Mouj said that launching e-books would require a lot of investment and new technology, for which they need four to five years.
“The feel of holding a real book is different and we will always have some readers who prefer hard copies of books. But we are looking at e-books as an option to rope in additional readers,” said Mukund Panshikar of the 60-year old Rajhans, which is planning to launch e-books in a year.