Frontlist | Hindi & Urdu publishers moving to digital platform & online salesFrontlist | Hindi & Urdu publishers moving to digital platform & online sales
on Nov 30, 2020 Books have always had a low priority here. In most households, textbooks and self-help books are what one finds. Buying books has long being deemed an unaffordable luxury or wasteful expenditure. The pandemic and the lockdown made the situation worse for publishers.
Printers have also been affected. Mumbai based Indian Printing Works had got used to printing 19 Diwali special magazines. The number this year dropped to 11 and the print order was much less. This has had a cascading effect on the employment of people in the printing industry.But many publishers are also exploring fresh ways of reaching out to readers. Maheshwari says Rajkamal is trying to use its website to sell books. Discounts are being offered every 10 days or so and parts of the books are being sent to readers on WhatsApp to whet their appetite. Livestreaming of book reading sessions and interaction with authors have also taken off in a big way. “ We are also encouraging people to gift books on special occasions and on festivals,” confides Maheshwari.Publshers who had their readers’ database have been luckier in reaching out to them. Many e-books are now being sold by Amazon, Flipkart and e-bay. These service provid ers have started offering e-books in regional languages and English translation of regional books.
People like Amir Hasan (58), who spent a lifetime collecting orders and payment for Urdu books, doesn’t know what has hit him. How does he acquire new skills at his age and how does he start a new enterprise are questions for which he has no answer. Future looks bleak, he says. Fahmi is firm in saying that Urdu publishers also need to move online as fast as possible. That is the only way to survive, he adds on a pensive note.