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Business Economy


'Onus of what to read should be left to readers'

New Delhi, Dec 6 (UNI) Publishers should confine themselves to the management of the book publishing business instead of regulating what needs to be read, advised Dr Kumar Vishwas, poet, author, performer and motivational speaker, on Thursday.
He was speaking in the context of the several good authors facing rejection as their work did not appeal to a few who stood in judgement.
Addressing FICCI's annual conference, 'PubliCon 2018' on the theme 'Publishing in Indian Languages' here, Dr Vishwas said that the readers were the link between publishers and writers and the onus of what is to be read should be left to the judgement of the readers.
He said that it was the responsibility of publishers to seek out creative writers who deal with contemporary issues. "Creativity is all pervasive and I firmly believe that there is still a great respect for the written word."
Dr Vishwas said that books and their authors bring about a semblance of balance in society which was being deluged with news and interpretation that swings from creating hope to despair in the social order. Book-reading, he said, was not fading.
In fact, it was only through books that the imagination of the reader gets free play and therefore the onus of creating 'kalpanasheelta' rests on independent publishers.
Mr Sandip Somany, President-Elect, FICCI and Vice Chairman & Managing Director of HSIL Ltd, said that with the literacy rate at 74 per cent, India has more than 900 million readers permeating the whole gamut of languages and regions with disparate reading needs and aspirations.
This opened up a wide opportunity for the publishing industry in India for content creation and dissemination. The print and digital publishing will both have to complement one another to meet the objectives of books and reading materials for all, he added.
Mr Somany said that the indulgence in localisation and language computing made business sense for technology companies, platform makers, OEMs and online publishers, according to a statement here.
Quoting a Google and KPMG India report of April 2017, Mr Somany said that there were 234 million Indian language internet users in 2016 and only 175 million English users and the gap between the two groups was expected to grow.
Nine out of 10 new internet users between 2016 and 2021 will use local languages, he added.
Mr Ratnesh Jha, Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and Managing Director, Cambridge University Press, said that there was a need for all segments of the publishing industry to come together in an organised manner and recognise the value of content creation.
He advocated leveraging of technology to create value for the readers in local languages in view of the fact that the medium of instruction at the primary school level was largely in local languages.
Ms Karthika V K, Co-Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and Publisher, Westland Publications Pvt Ltd, said that publishers did not want to be gatekeepers but sought a role for themselves as facilitators.
Language, she said was not a barrier any more. This was evidenced by comments in local languages on conversations in the social media.
UNI RSA ADG1644
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