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India Provides Good Future For Books Than Other Parts Of World

Bright future of books

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India Provides Good Future For Books Than Other Parts Of World
India Provides Good Future For Books Than Other Parts Of World. Representational image, Pixabay
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After an unprecedented boom in India’s publishing industry during the past two decades, many insiders are fearful that it has now reached its saturation point. But the boom is not over, according to David Davidar, who maintains that India is “one of the most exciting book markets in the world” and its future is one of hopes.

Davidar, who was hired by the legendary Peter Mayer as one of the founder members of Penguin India way back in 1985 and ventured out to lay the foundations of Aleph Book Company some seven years ago, asserted that “there is no place to go but up” for India’s books market. Why?

“Because there is quite a lot of rubbish that is published, and as many subject areas remain unexplored, there is plenty of room for good, relevant books,” Davidar told IANS in an interview.

Open book
Open book, Representational image, Pixabay

The acclaimed publisher explained that although India publishes nearly 20,000 new books in the English language every year, many of these books are “meretricious or just downright bad.”

Davidar contrasts this unfortunate state of affairs to the fact that books will always have “a central place” in the lives of the thinking and aware individuals. And even as the consumer now has access to “more published information and entertainment than at any time in human history”, much of it (especially that found in digital form on the Internet and social media) is “of little value”, he noted.

“There will, therefore, always be room for thoughtful, stylish, innovative, insightful books (in whatever format you choose to read or access them – I am platform agnostic) for those who want to go beyond the commonplace, banal and mediocre,” he pointed out.

But the Indian book market, like anywhere else in the world, has its own hurdles and Davidar identified a small readership base, not enough retail outlets, not enough marketing avenues, low prices, high discounts, high material costs, high returns, customers who do not pay on time, customers who default on payments and so on and so forth as the major challenges faced by publishers in contemporary scenario. But there is hope as this market is always expanding.

Books
Books, Representational image, Flickr

“In India, because the bar has been so low for so long (all of us in the business have to accept some of the blame for that), and there are new generations hungry for quality information and entertainment, the future is brighter than in most parts of the world, where reading habits and publishing revenues are declining. There is no place to go but up. Great books will not die, but will continue to thrive,” he said.

Davidar has been a publisher for over a quarter century and has published several of the country’s finest writers, including Shashi Tharoor, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Khushwant Singh, Ruskin Bond, R.K. Narayan, Amitav Ghosh and Jeet Thayil. He is currently the Managing Director and Publisher of Aleph Book Company, a literary publishing firm he co-founded in 2011.

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He has also authoredce three novels “The House of Blue Mangoes” (2002), which was published in 16 countries, and became a bestseller in six of them; “The Solitude of Emperors” (2007), which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; and “Ithaca” (2011). (IANS)

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Amazon To Roll Out 4 New Alexa Built-in Devices Next Month

Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping this month while Echo Sub will be available later this year

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The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Four Indian manufacturers on Monday announced to launch new products like portable headsets, smart speakers and set-top boxes with the Amazon Alexa built-in.

The hardware manufacturers are iBall, Sirena Technologies, boAt and MyBox who have integrated Alexa into their products with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) which enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device.

All four devices will be available beginning next month, enabling customers to ask questions, play music, control smart home devices and more, the AVS said in a statement.

“Breathe-M” from iBall is a wireless Bluetooth over-ear headset with built-in Mic for just Rs 2,225 while “Vood” by Sirena Technologies is touted as one of the world’s smallest portable smart speakers for Rs 2,699.

“boAt Stone 700A” is a shock and water proof smart speaker for Rs 7,999 and “MyBox” Alexa Kit for the set-top box (STB), paired with a voice remote, costs just Rs 1,999.

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The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

Earlier Alexa built-in devices that were launched in India were Pulse 3 and Plus 3 Max headphones from Motorola for Rs 1,599 and Rs 2,599, respectively and Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose Soundbar 500, and Soundbar 700 for Rs 39,000, Rs 59,000 and Rs 79,000, respectively.

Amazon last month launched a new line-up of Echo devices and an Echo companion device in India.

At Rs 4,499, Echo Dot comes with a new speaker for crisper sound and an updated fabric design.

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Echo Plus with a built-in Zigbee hub, an upgraded speaker and a new design will cost Rs 14,999.

With Echo Sub, you can add rich bass to music playback on Echo devices for Rs 12,999.

Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping this month while Echo Sub will be available later this year. (IANS)