'Personalised', 'talking' books draw huge crowds | business | Hindustan Times
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'Personalised', 'talking' books draw huge crowds

Feel like reading a book but not ready to tire your eyes? Buy a "talking book" that reads out the story for you. These are some of the new concepts publishing firms have brought to the ongoing Delhi Book Fair here to attract new-age readers.

business Updated: Sep 03, 2008 14:25 IST

Want to turn the attention of your internet-crazy kid to books? Gift him a "custom-made" one that tells the story of his adventure with the Spiderman.

Feel like reading a book but not ready to tire your eyes? Buy a "talking book" that reads out the story for you.

These are some of the new concepts publishing firms have brought to the ongoing Delhi Book Fair here to attract new-age readers.

"Children are more into internet surfing and television shows these days. Parents are eager to inculcate reading habit among kids. Personalised books are a unique way to pull your child towards books," Manoj C Dalal, Vice President (Expansion) of Kolkata-based 'My Personalised Mall', said.

The firm has brought out some 13 titles, with stories of superheroes like Batman, X-men and Spiderman as also famous fairytale characters like the Little Mermaid. The books are printed in Texas, US after obtaining giving royalty to the publishers who hold the copyright.

"Custom-made books are printed after inserting your child's name and the names of any three other persons who are known to him or her in the story. If you want to gift such a book to a child called Davinder, it will be like 'Davinder and Spiderman fights Dr Octopus'. The child will feel the story has been written about him," Dalal said.

The concept is already quite popular in the US but for the first time a firm had started it in India, he claimed.

The firm delivers books at the customer's doorstep after taking orders and printing the books. The production work is done partly in the US and partly in Kolkata.

"The concept is great. But for a 20-25 page book, we will have to shell out Rs 300. It's a bit too costly," said Neha Sharma, a housewife and visitor to the fair.

However, Dalal argued that taking the quality maintenance, giving royalty and the cost of shipping the books into account, the price is not very high.

"In the first few days in the fair, we have received 50 orders on an average every day. Post-liberalisation, Indian middle-class has bulging pockets. They are ready to spend if they get quality items," he said.

Publishers are also keeping in mind the needs of busy professionals who wish to read but are facing time constraints in their stress-filled daily routine.

Delhi-based Star Publications have come out with "talking books" -- complete novels read out and saved in CDs.

"This is a popular concept in Britain and the US. Here too, English books have been published in this format. But we are the first to bring out such books in regional languages -- Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu," Anil Varma, the Director of the publishing firm, said.

Books by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Prem Chand, Amrita Pritam as also poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi are available. "You can listen to the novels even while travelling or relaxing."

There are also options for those who want to rent books but do not wish to travel to a library. 'FriendsOfBooks', in their stall at a corner of the book fair, are offering membership to their online library.

"The plan includes a monthly rental charge of Rs 150 and a refundable security deposit of Rs 750. You can choose from the books listed on our website and we will deliver them to you," Manish Kumar from 'FriendsOfBooks' said.