Book Publishers Are Connecting Digitally With Audiences At The Time Of The Coronavirus
As visits to bookstores become impossible, publishers are reaching out to readers with online webinars, workshops, interactions with authors, and freebies to keep readers engaged
The raging coronavirus pandemic has effectively forced book publishers in India to embrace the digital space, like never before, to connect with readers. With storefronts inaccessible, publishing platforms are taking to social media to stream workshops, seminars and conversations between authors and experts, besides giving freebies and hosting fun activities such as book quizzes to give readers something to cheer about in these difficult times.
Here, we look at a few such initiatives:
Roli Pulse: Ever since the lockdown began, independent publisher Roli Books has been regularly hosting and streaming interactions and conversations on topics as varied as cricket, fashion, health, art and even sports. The ongoing initiative, powered by its digital arm, Roli Pulse, has seen participation from William Dalrymple, Aruna Roy, Alan Wilkins, to name only a few.
Tune in to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels to check out some lively conversations.
#IndiaReadsAtHome: Hachette India is also hosting a wide range of activities on its social media platforms. From virtual author sessions that include book readings, tutorials, recommendations and more, to trivia and games for children and social media challenges, it is offering activities that promise to dispel the boredom in this quarantine period. Also, there are book recommendations from specific genres (thrillers, romance, business, among others) for readers to follow. In collaboration with Scroll.in, Hachette is also publishing extracts from select books in its vast archive.
Visit their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles to enjoy and take part in these activities.
#ReadInstead: On 27 March, Juggernaut Books, in association with Scroll.in, launched the #ReadInstead Online Literature Festival, in what was touted as the first of its kind in India. The event, which will go on until 27 April, features workshops, book reading sessions, recommendation sessions, conversations and much more. Personalities such as Ramachandra Guha, Konkona Sen Sharma, Keshava Guha, Tony Joseph, Amitabha Bagchi, Nobel laureates Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo have all been a part of this initiative.
Visit Juggernaut’s social media handles to partake in the live sessions, or head over to Scroll.in if you wish to watch the sessions later.
Book publishers are moving away from physical copies, as e-books and online storytelling sessions continue to flourish. (Image: Flickr)
Freebies And Discounts
Some publishing houses have also opened up access to their catalogues and their e-books providing them for free, or at discounted prices:
- As part of its #ReadInstead campaign, Juggernaut Books is, in collaboration with Bharti Airtel, providing hundreds of thousands of ebooks for free since 21 March.
- Seagull Books is providing a free PDF on a daily basis. The stock of free PDFs will be replenished every Sunday. You may want to check this link out to avail of their free PDF collection.
- Partnering with Kindle, the JCB Prize for Literature has decided to offer all the books from its longlists of 2018 and 2019, at discounts ranging from 40 per cent to 70 per cent. Head over to the following link.
- Also partnering with Amazon Kindle, Penguin Random House India will be making more than 400 of its bestselling books available in one place on the Amazon India website. You'll be able to find e-books from authors such as Arundhati Roy, Khushwant Singh and Durjaya Dutta at attractive discounts by heading over to this link.
- The Oxford Bookstore in Delhi is organizing a book quiz on their Facebook page, live on 15 April at 5.30 p.m.
As the world struggles with the coronavirus, the terms of interaction between authors, publishers and readers have been reconfigured. With the overwhelming benefits of digital technology in full display, this can only portend a bright future for books and reading, even at this difficult time.
To know more about books, reading material and art you can access for free, head over to this link.