We publishers would be an extinct race without you. Without you to display our books, talk about them to your customers, reorder them when they sell, remember them when they are out of stock and celebrate them when something good happens, we publishers might as well give up the whole enterprise.
We love the fact that you also give place of pride to Indian authors, that Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghvi and Preeti Shenoy now rub spines and corners with Jeffery Archer, JK Rowling and Sidney Sheldon. You have long acknowledged and honoured the Vikram Seths and Amitabh Ghoshes anyway.
Why then, dear booksellers, this disdainful attitude towards Indian children’s books?
I visited four retail outlets today. Two were chain shops, two were independent bookshops. But in all of them the situation was the same. In one tiny corner, either at the far rear of the shop or somewhere else equally inconspicuous, is a tiny shelf or two, labelled Indian children’s books. Often nearby is a gleaming wall of shiny international children’s books. I found the corners only after specifically asking for them, in two cases I had walked by them searching but failed to locate them.
I have been in the business long enough to know those tiny shelves do not represent the annual output. I have probably personally edited and commissioned more books in two years than those shelves hold.
Please give the books a space in the light, please know the names of some of the authors, please be a little proud of them.
Who knows, they might make you proud too!
PS: There are many stores which are exceptions to this, and we are proud and happy to be working with you.