Publishers of e-books have made their presence felt along with traditional publishers at the 89th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, which is being held at Pimpri-Chinchwad this year.
Traditional publishers have embraced the e-platform, with many talking about how the e-book format allowed them to tap newer and unconventional readers. Reports suggest that ebooks account for around two per cent of the market of Marathi publishing industry, which is of the size of around Rs 100 crore.
Other than Amazon’s Kindle, publishers have started using their own e-platforms to publish works of literature. While academic publications continue to corner the lion’s share of the market, many new authors have started preferring e-books over the traditional format.
Vikram Bhagwat, co-founder of bookhungama.com, says the ebook format has brought in a new generation of authors as well as readers. What started as a simple exercise in reviving the lost art of letter writing on Facebook gave Bhagwat an idea to explore the hitherto unexplored platfrom of ebook publications. “Back in 2013, I started a Facebook page about letters and posted a letter. The page was for those who wanted to write letters. This page fetched an unexpectedly good response from people and was flooded with comments,” Bhagwat says.
Encouraged by the experience, Bhagwat decided to go for e-book publishing. In March 2014, he came out with his first set of ebooks in the pdf format. “However, that was the wrong format for e-books. After a short break, we came up with a newer format and an app for our ebooks,” he says. Padma awardee Ushakiran Khan from Madhya Pradesh recently published two of her works exclusively on this platform, he says.
Around 70 per cent of the registered users of the platform are from India and in the last two years, it has seen publication of over 300 ebooks. “Our pipeline for publication is booked till March 2016. On an average, we publish around 50 books per month,” he said.
Sanjay Joshi, head of accounts and administration at the Rajhans publication, says they would be going for ebook publication in the next year or so. “This would allow us to reach a wider audience,” he says. Sources in Mehta Publication House say they have been in the business of ebook publishing over the last year or so. “We normally publish the books in eformat nearly a month after their publication in the hard cover. To date, we have published over 1,000 e-books,” said an employee.