Penguin in many bhashas

From The Bookseller:
“Penguin is stepping up its attack on the growing Indian market with a local language program, the first non-English publishing from the 70-year-old house.
Penguin India will publish four Hindi titles in April, including Hamara Hissa, an anthology of contemporary Hindi stories edited by Arun Prakash, and Shakuntala: The Play of Memory (Shakuntala: Smriti Jaal) by Namita Gokhale.
It will begin publishing in Marathi and Malayalam later this year, and is planning 25 titles in each of the three languages this year with similar output for the next two to three years. It plans to move into more Indian languages from 2006, and claims it is the first U.K. publisher to publish in regional Indian languages.”

It’s going to be a fascinating experiment: there’s no such thing as a “regional language market”, given that every local language has its own, very quirky publishing map in India, so Penguin will have to bear the cost of making mistakes. And mistakes will be inevitable in the early stages. On the other hand, this could actually expand readership for some writers in English, if they’re translated into local languages, and it could tap potential readers in small towns far better than current efforts. This should be fun to watch, especially if some of the other publishing houses in India–HarperCollins, Roli, Picador–follow in Penguin’s footsteps.





3 responses to “Penguin in many bhashas”

  1. Gati Avatar

    It is strange that Penguin is not entering the Bengali language market. That probably is because ABP which is a firmly entrenched monopoly. And that makes your comment about the nonexistence of the regional language market and its “quirky publishing map” wrong, at least for the Bengali market.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Doesn’t ABP own a significant minority stake in Penguin – 49 per cent? If so, one could argue Penguin is already the dominant player in the (West) Bengali market.

  3. Zafar Anjum Avatar

    Penguin is doing this basically to increase the company’s bottomline. After all how many people read English language books in India?

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