These are good times for Indian language books publishers, most of whom were facing stagnation and even drop in sales till a few years back.
Sales are soaring again and publishers credit the revival to the advent of online bookstores along with better marketing and improved production quality.
"Leading bookstores in metros have always been reluctant to stock Hindi books, saying that there are no takers. The rising sales of language books through online bookshops have proved them wrong," said Aditi Maheshwari, director, copyright and translations, Vani Prakashan. Vani's online sales have gone up by 45% in the last one year.
Many Hindi language publishers are now expanding their publishing lists, which now include not just fiction, but also biographies, travelogues, self-help books and translations of best-selling English books to attract more readers. And they have tasted success (see box).
"English writers are better-known, thanks to the well-oiled marketing machinery of their publishers, but Hindi publishers are catching up. Unlike a few years back, now we regularly organise book launches for our authors," said Piyush Kumar, director, Prabhat Prakashan.
Encouraged by growing online sales, Rajpal & Sons is now releasing several out-of-print Hindi novels with new covers.
Pranav Johri, marketing director of Rajpal & Sons, said a lot of young people now want to write books in Hindi. "They believe they have a new platform in online bookstores to sell their books. Earlier, we used to get four manuscripts a day, now we get about eight."
Publishers in Bengali, Marathi and other languages too are witnessing a boom in business. "I have been pleasantly surprised by the rapidly growing demand for our books online. A lot of it is coming from cities such as Bangalore," said Sunil Mehta, managing director of Pune-based Mehta Publishing House.