Eight publishers, including big names like Popular Prakashan, Mauj Prakashan, and Continental Prakashan which collectively hold the largest treasure trove of Marathi literature, have finally realized & decided to adopt the digital route for distribution of rare & popular books.
Many want to read, but few can afford the time to go to a library & choose. It is this audience that they wish to cater. As far as books go, Harsha Bhatkal of Popular Prakashan says, “We will offer at least 5,000 titles in Marathi and keep increasing it. As far as e-books go, we’ll offer 2,000 titles to start with” The idea of a online book-store occurred to Milind Paranjpe of Jyotsna Prakashan after witnessing the success of Amazon’s Kindle, which ironically is facing some issues getting the books! However, mere Indians are not the target, “The site will reach out to readers outside Maharashtra or India and those in remote areas, where supply chains are weak” he says.
As far as numbers go, over 3000 books in Marathi are published every year. However, owing to lack of proper marketing tie-ups, some good literature goes unnoticed says Rohan Champanerkar of Rohan Prakashan, “Although the number of books in Marathi is increasing, the store space and marketing links have not kept up. Even if a book is good it is not displayed at stores”.
Presently, the site faces a tough competition from BookGanga.com which caters to Marathi aficionados across the gulf US, UK, Singapore etc. BookGanga started a mere year ago & realized the market is huge.
We visited the site & were greeted with a non-impressive “This Domain name is Parked” Message. Guess, the site has still to materialize from the conceptualization stage. Further, we ask will the site merely sell the books or try some advert-inserted tricks?