I haven’t done a book review for a while, mainly because I’ve been working through Paul Scott’s The Jewel in the Crown in order to determine if I want to make The Raj Quartet my summer reading project. I’m halfway through and still haven’t made a decision.
Meanwhile, I came across this article, by Neha Thirani of the New York Times, about the huge growth in English-language publishing in India.
“With the printed word considered an endangered species in much of a rapidly digitizing world, India now represents one of the best English-language book markets in the world…As the India publishing industry matures, a rising number of literary agencies are emerging that are cultivating a new generation of writers in a wide range of genres.”
I find that exciting, since some of my favorite English-language writers are Indian, and I would love to discover new ones.
But the article then throws a bit of cold water on this rosy picture, mentioning by name the Chetan Bhagat phenomenon and ending with this:
“If anything, the industry’s biggest problem may be producing mediocre books in the race to feed such a fast-growing market. ‘There are some publishers who are happy with the growth in the market, but some are concerned about what this will mean for literary writing,’ said Ms. Malhotra of Full Circle Publications. ‘Is it all really about the sales and figures?’ ”
Check out the article and be sure to read the comments.