Tamil books, readers and technology

There is a common misconception that Tamil books (read fiction) is not exploring different genres or it is difficult to read the language which by itself kills the joy of reading. Most of the English books which hit the market is either romance or sci-fi/fantasy stories. The current trend of tamil books have long before crossed this threshold and is exploring  too many things. In a way, the french literature scene have some impact on tamil literature to some extent.

There are few science fictions tried by well known writer Sujatha. There is anthology of short stories called “Vingyana Sirukathaigal” translating to scifi short stories. It is a collection of short stories based on science, which effortlessly explains various things about physics, chemistry with a hint of humor to it.

The short story anthology written by writer Jayamohan (Known for Angadi theru, kadal, Nan kadavul) called Visumbu explored the untouched botanical science fiction  and zoological science fiction which is very rare in any language.

There are novels like Aaah, Pesum bommaigal by Sujatha which talked about Split personality, mental disorders and robotics. Most of the tamil readers would not have read these books. There is a book released in this year’s book exhibition called “6174” which is a part fantasy and analytical thriller in the lines of Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code.

The reason for the failure of such books, is even the authors do not know who their audience is. They have the onus of making layman understand what they are trying to say. In this dilemma they are not able give detailed explanation about what they are trying to say like Michael Crichton and the likes. Apart from this the tamil novels are high in standards which can emotionally and intellectually engage the audience.

For example, there is a novel called “Silandhi” by MG Suresh. The novel is about a detective trying to solve the mystery of murders happening in a lunatic asylum. From the start author makes you play the detective. There are separate chapters for male and female detectives and the story takes diversion based on reader’s gender. Its a unique and well received story delivery. Reading it itself is a different experience.

These kind of books doesn’t even reach the audience and so called tamil readers too are not aware of the existence of such books. Thanks to my brother, I get to read these novels. The publishers hardly create any hype about the novels they are going to release. There are hardly any marketing activities happening over the books that is going to be released by them.

The tamil writers are still stuck in the hands of the publishers. The blog writers or Indie authors do not get any visibility at all. This leads to a talented author getting stuck in the hands of the publishers and not getting enough royalty.

Recently Kizhakku pathipagam of New Horizon Media has started giving out application for Iphone and Ipad users similar to Kobo and Aldiko, through which we can read books as well as buy books. This is one step to reach the audience than waiting in the bookstall for the readers to show up. The android platform has many applications which give us the works of Kalki, Devan, Jayakanthan and Pudhumai pithan. If this trend continues we will get to read so many classics in the mobile which will lead to buying hard copies if the novel interests the reader. And most importantly it will bring out the talented writers from the clutches of the publishers and we will see more different attempts by upcoming authors.

(This post was the article that was published in Tamil E-magazine New Gen Tamila. You can read the Tamil version here)

P.S. You can find the comment of Author Kasthuri Sudhakar, who wrote tamil novel 6174 in the comments section.

7 Comments

  1. vinodvv February 16, 2013 at 5:37 am

    I still remember a year and half ago top guys from New Horizon Media came down to old office. They wanted to get in to mobile space, they looked in to the possibilities.

    Glad to hear that the apps are out in the market.

    I doubt about the marketers, are they making large business in order to make advertisements.

    The problem is that most authors can think about technology, they could try things online.

    P.S: it is just my thoughts. Don’t know will it make sense.

    Reply
  2. Uma February 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Apps are really great and I found that they are only useful to people (esp.youths) who possess and uses the technology right ( ipad ,android ,internet). I always find reading tamil books in print very convenient wherever I am.

    I am an ardent fan of Ramani Chandran and Sujatha…but I only know about this book “Silandhi” by MG Suresh through your post (Will soon find one to read )

    Personally I think bloggers / online writers can use the blogging platform/FB to bring in such existence of books to the other people.

    Reply
    1. --- :) ---- February 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      True Uma. Even Sujatha in his Katrathum Petrathum talks about the poor marketing techniques the publishers handle. And book exhibition in the only place where audience can get the books they want. I have also written a post about another book but in Tamil. You can read it here. http://nanprasanna.wordpress.com/2012/01/

      Other than that you can always go for http://www.jayamohan.in. He suggests lot of authors.

      Reply
  3. Kasturi Sudhakar March 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks Prasanna for a good article. It is a challenge to market books by the authors themselves and most of the publishers have confined themselves to conventional marketing channels. I tried e-books route for ‘6174’ ; but amazon does not support Tamil language yet. Others are equally difficult to get access – except the pdf route.

    I am not sure if ‘6174’ can be said to be in line with the Dan Brown books. It is a novel which is mostly a thriller with science, pseudo history of Lemuria and cryptic Tamil verses. Jeyamohan rated it in his “List of 10 Best Books released in 2012” as a Sci-Fi Novel in Tamil. I would appreciate your review on it.
    Regards
    K.Sudhakar

    Reply
    1. --- :) ---- March 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Kasturi Sudhakar, First of all, welcome to my blog. Its a honor to have your comment in one of my articles. Sad that there are so many bottlenecks for both publishers and writers alike in tamil writing space to take their works forward. This post was result of such frustration only. Hope things will get better when more and more people ask for tamil books with amazon.

      Secondly, I said 6174 was inline with Dan Brown where I meant that there was lot of research went into the book. It was not just another explanation to our well know mythology or other things. It gave lot of food for thought, explaining fibonnacci series and kolams to greater extent. I will surely put up a review of that soon. Currently got held up with official duties. When I do, I will make sure I will notify you.

      Thanks again for visit and comments.

      Reply
      1. Kasturi Sudhakar March 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm

        Thanks Prasanna. For Kolams and Fibonacci ,the article by Dr.S.Naranan is the best place http://vindhiya.com/snaranan/fk/index.htm. I had lots of interactions with him on this and I am fortunate to have met him to discuss as well. He had worked ( and still working!) on 6174 and its variants. He wants to take these researches to the students and common man in simple language. Sad that many of us do not know people like him.
        I look forward to your review.
        Thanks and regards
        K.Sudhakar

        Reply
        1. --- :) ---- March 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm

          I am a silent follower of your blog page as well as 6174’s facebook page. I remember you posting about him, where he stood in the street entrance to welcome you on your discussion about Fibonacci and Kolams. Seriously disheartening that such personalities are not popular enough. Things will change.

          Reply

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