The 19th New Delhi World Book Fair has a dedicated hall housing hundreds of Hindi publishers.
These stalls are attracting thousands of book lovers but there is a twist. The best selling authors at the stalls of the most prominent Hindi publishers such as Prabhat Prakashan and Rajpal & Sons are not famous Hindi authors but the likes of Chetan Bhagat, Sobhaa De, Aravind Adiga, Jaswant Singh and Amartya Sen.
The Hindi translations of their books are the most sought after at these stalls.
Like in English, Bhagat seems to be scripting an amazing success story in the world of Hindi publishing as well.
“He is our best selling author in the last three days. We have sold about 700 copies of Hindi version of Five Point Someone and One Night At The Call Center,” said Piyush Kumar, Director of Prabhat Prakashan.
The second and third best selling books at his stall is Asha Ka Savera (translation of Wings Of Fire by former President APJ Abdul Kalam) and Nai Rahen Naye Irade (the translation of The Audacity Of Hope by US President Barack Obama).
It’s the same story at the other major Hindi publication house, Rajpal.
Here the best selling book is the paperback edition of Jinnah: Bharat Vibhajan Ke Aine Mein, the translated version of Jaswant Singh’s book Jinnah: India-Partition Independence.
“We have sold about 200 copies of the Hindi translation of the book, which is far more than any other book in Hindi we have sold,” said Pranav, marketing director of Rajpal & Sons, a 95- year- old Delhi-based publication house.
At Penguin’s Hindi stall, the fastest mover is the Hindi translation of Nandan Nilekani’s Imagining India, which has sold about 150 copies in the three days at the fair.
So, who are buying these translated books by English authors?
“Chetan Bhagat’s books are being read by youngsters from smaller towns. But Delhiites, who have an equal command over English but prefer to read in Hindi, are buying these books,” said Kumar.
But is this a good trend for Hindi?
“At the end of the day, it is the Hindi language that gets promoted,” said Kumar, who has already sold about 80,000 copies Bhagat’s books in Hindi in the last four months.