India has vast linguistic diversity and this significantly contributes to its cultural richness. Even after losing between 220 and 250 languages in the past 50 years, 780 languages are still spoken in the country. This data is as per the People’s Linguistic Survey of India in 2013.
As a result regional language books are abundant in the country. Sadly they completely lack in popularity compared to English books. India’s continuing population explosion has created a highly competitive generation that wants to learn and use English at any cost, even at the expense of regional, native languages. Thus the sale of English language books has boomed in the country.
Publication of English language books is increasing by 30% year-on-year. As per Nielsen, sales figures of English language books in India touched Rs. 3.28 billion in 2011. And Nielsen only surveys about 35% of the Indian book market. As a result the regional language books have been pushed to the back of the bookshelves.
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The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, set aside Rs. 600 lakhs for book promotional activities as part of its XIth Plan. A significant portion of this amount was spent on the promotion of regional books. The leading newspapers like The Hindu and The Indian Express are also playing key roles in the promotion of regional language books.
As interest in India now turns to eBooks, even more effort will be required to keep regional content alive. The key to the promotion of regional language eBooks lies in the hands of the digital publishers. Today there is no standard platform for publishing and distributing regional language eBooks. However, Cygnet Infotech aims to resolve this issue with its e-Shabda platform.
The top online stores like Amazon India and Flipkart are also gradually adding regional language books to their catalogues. However, they need to move faster and add titles to their eBook categories.
The signs that regional language eBooks will take off are evident but the road to success is still long and bumpy.
Image credit: Christian Haugen on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Profile_Pic_Moumita.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Moumita Goswami is a full-time homemaker and a passionate writer. She stays in Pune with her husband and daughter. After giving up working, she started writing about five years ago and can now be seen using her computer keyboard almost all the time. An MA in Psychology from Calcutta University, Moumita has spent time in Kolkata, Delhi and now Pune. For Moumita, writing started as a sudden chance but she soon discovered her likeness for it. And now she has developed a passion for writing and hardly any day passes without her scribbling a few lines. She dreams of publishing her own book one day and is working towards it.