Skip to main content

World of Books: It’s not demand that creates supply, it’s the other way around

In one of my recent blog posts, I had written that many Indian writers are going overboard with their social media book promotions. It gives me some relief that I am not the only one who thinks so. 
1. Anyone can publish a book these days, and just about everyone does. But if the supply of writers is increasing at a velocity unknown in literary history, the supply of readers is not.
2. Competition is rather fierce. Result: ceaseless self-promotion by eager beginners.
3. The poet Joseph Brodsky, who wrote that "in cultural matters, it is not demand that creates supply, it is the other way around. You read Dante because he wrote 'The Divine Comedy' not because you felt the need for him; you would not have been able to conjure either the man or the poem."  
Read the third point again. It tells us what we suspected all along. Readers aren’t a bunch of idiots who listen blindly to what authors tell them about their books. We don't fall for the most obvious bait – author’s marketing pitch - and pick up any book from the bookstore. We spend hours browsing through hundreds of books before we decide to invest our precious time, money and commit our heart’s attention to a book.
The clincher is this – it’s not just the bucks we are parting with when we invest in books. We invest a bit of ourselves in the books we buy and read. For the same reason, readers are not likely to cater to the growing tribe of publicity-crazy authors who have their eye on churning out best sellers come what may. 

Best sellers aren’t such a bad thing, provided they have real substance. But if you are telling me that many of the pulp fiction novels in Indian publishing are best sellers, I have to cross my heart and tell you something that every reader would connect with “I read for the pleasure of experiencing a different world – a better world – and not necessarily to read a rehashed ‘masala’ version of what authors think can sell.”
When authors sell, they need to know one simple thing – they become vendors. Not real writers like Anita Desai, Kavery Nambisan, Manju Kapur and Shashi Deshapande, to mention a few.  Publicity-crazy authors are not in the league of bookshop owners but they are pure vendors who are into the business of making money out of books. And the actual process of writing, as we all agree, is a creative function. Pure and simple.
So, if you are an avid writer or reader, I’d like to know this: How do you choose the books you read? Is it based on an author’s clai, “I am the best there is because my book sells better than anyone else” or is it based on topic, content, craft and so on?

I would like to believe that you choose to read the books you really, really like.

Comments

Locomente said…
It always based on it based on topic, content, craft and so on... I also think in the similar lines.
Asha said…
Swapna, knowing you through your posts, i am not surprised any more that you reflect my thoughts.

I read a similar article on The hindu" from Bishwanath ghosh, a journalist. I was glad he almost reflected my thoughts how some new authors oversell and push themselves on social media.

These authors are not open to criticism and in the name of emancipation, the things they churn out is simply immoral and unethical.

I read an author/book for her/his simple content. generally no fiction but if it is good, i pick up. One of the reviews i have heard is the purple lotus and other stories. I am wanting to pick it up. this book by ratna rao shekar, an editor of a local magazine is very popular has not advertised herself or her book. I hear from the reviews it is good.




Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrity…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle an…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

Childhood is the best part of life

Memories have a funny way of coming back into my head, sometimes when I am about to get ready to go to work or sometimes like a flash from the past. It happens to me all the time - swathes of childhood memories flooding back. This time, as the first touches of winter began to make itself felt in Delhi, I went on a trip to Goa with my son and close friends. From the moment I landed in Goa till I got back, I was on a happy high, like a teenager who's going on a much awaited holiday.  Let me tell you a funny thing. I even went and bought myself a swimming costume to wear for the first time since my teenage years but guess what? The funniest part comes now - I never got to wear it. Maybe the idea was just to feel like a teenager again as I am growing older, not wiser! Hahaha!  [MUST-READ: Mahashivaratri - I'm loving it!]



[Image: Pexels]

The Goa trip was an incredible experience that took me back to where I really came from, where my heart has always been - Blantyre. That's where…

Mumbai Police Movie Review: Prithviraj breaks the typical 'hero' mold, challenges sexual stereotyping

Exploring a completely different dimension in his latest film Mumbai Police, Director Rosshan Anddrews delivers a fast-paced, thriller film after his award winning fims such as Udayananu Tharam, Notebook and others.



To flesh out the script written by Boby Sanjay, Rosshan Anddrews ropes in actors such as Prithviraj, Rahman and Jayasurya to portray three police officers: Antony Moses, Farhan and Aryan respectively.
The story begins with a phone call that Antony Moses (starring Prithviraj) makes to Farhan (starring Rahman) saying that he has solved the murder mystery of Aryan (starring Jayasurya). Just as he says this, there is an accident and Antony Moses loses his memory. From then, Farhan's attempt is to take Antony through people and places that are likely to trigger his memory so that they can solve the murder of their close friend and colleague Aryan. A series of events happen, almost hurtling us towards it.
And I am taking the liberty to hand out trophies for the following:
'M…

Conversation with a friend: How to deal with the death of a loved one and Three Lessons I learned

The simplest lessons are always the toughest to learn.This December, a classmate passed away and I was totally shocked to hear the news. Another shock came my way. I heard that another classmate's husband had passed away and when I received the news, I felt very deeply for her.
[Image: Pexels.com]
1. Reach Out, Show You Care and Be Honest
For me, my classmate is someone whom I had shared countless jokes and conversations with when we were young. Our conversations and happy moments have never faded though we have become different individuals with completely different journeys in life.  So, yes, I plucked up the courage to call and show that I am with my friend through this moment of grief. The experience of the conversation we had humbled me like a lesson of life and the blessing was that I felt much lighter within. 

2. Honour the need of others to grieve in their way
I believe that the ''body'' alone perishes but not the soul. I don't offer my beliefs  to those who …

Six Happiness Lessons I learned from a Baby in a Boutique

Happiness is a strange thing, at least in my life. It is always the little things that bring a big smile to my face, not that I have any big things lined up in my life.  But I must confess that happiness is not what I expected to feel when I popped into the neighborhood's busiest boutique! 
[READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He Loves]


Last evening, I had just dropped in to collect some materials that I had given for stitching at the boutique. Besides long traffic jams on the route,  I was stressed out. I needed to complete some paperwork at the private bank and that had just got done at the last minute. I had to pick up groceries on the way and the list was pretty long. Then I had to reach my son before a certain time as per schedule.
So, when I spotted a baby in the boutique, I felt instantly happy.  As our gazes locked, the three-month-old beauty began to smile, stretch her tiny palms to me and our eyes locked for several minutes.  She began to push herself more towards me…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…