Old world meets new, changes publishing game

When Westland, one of India’s top publishing houses, announced earlier this year that its international partner, Amazon, was bouncing, the literary world was besieged with gloom.
Publishers, authors and book-lovers wondered what lay ahead in a digitally dominated world where bookstores were shutting shop and the webserial was the new novel. So, when a young, Bangalore-based digital platform, Pratilipi, just asked the entire team to join and restart their print publishing division, there was retirement. idea? Content cuts across mediums.
Pratilipi is an online platform where writers in 12 Indian languages ​​post their fiction accessible to all readers to browse and even rate writers, in a unique democratic model which could eventually be a game changer in determining author advances. Some fiction is available only behind a paywall. Pratilipi’s other content includes comic books and an audio segment.
Almost like closing a generation gap, the idea behind the synergy is that content is agnostic to the medium. Rather than feel threatened or diminished, the old-world print medium can be transported into many digital avatars, say publishers. “They believe that content can reach people in different ways, it doesn’t have to be one or the other,” says Gautam Padmanabhan, former CEO of Westland, who will now head the new publishing division under Pratilipi. “In fact, one can lead the other. Today, a podcast can lead to a book, or a book can lead to a webseries. We would be able to innovate, maybe serialize a novel while it is being written. One area we’d love to look at is adapting some of our books into comics, as they have a separate app for comics.”
Over the last few years, Westland had been committed to growing Indian language publications. But the physical world has had its. “Because Pratilipi already has an enormous base of Indian language readership, the team is particularly excited about new possibilities, especially for Eka, the languages ​​imprint,” adds Karthika VK, former publisher at Westland.
It is likely that the authors already signed up with Westland will find a home in the new entity. Given the democratic nature of the Pratilipi platform, where readers decide what they like, the publishing business is likely to gain insights that could influence commissioning decisions.
Co-founder and CEO of Pratilipi, Ranjeet Pratap Singh, says, “Pratilipi aims to build a storytelling ecosystem and we believe print books are an integral part of the ecosystem just as our existing verticals including online literature, comics, audio books and podcasts. ”


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