Saturday, July 02, 2005

New horizons

Satya, who writes the excellent Education in India blog, has written, in his personal blog Prayatna, a very nice post about how folks belonging to India's emerging middle class (that is getting ever bigger) are thirsting for knowledge -- not necessarily in English, but in their own language, and about how Badri and he started in early 2004 a new publishing venture New Horizon Media in this sunrise sector. They have already published over 70 titles in Tamil!

When Satya and I met in Bangalore some three weeks ago, I had the privilege of hearing from him this truly fascinating story about their venture; I am glad to see this story recounted in his blog.

Satya mentions some of their bestsellers in Tamil; they include a biography of Dhirubhai Ambani, a political history of the US, and an intro to the stock markets. He adds:

While we started out with the idea that there was a need for increasing awareness and overall knowledge levels for the betterment of society and that the best way to get started was by publishing knowledge-oriented books, we had little idea of how the readers would respond. We have been pleasantly surprised to find that these books are selling well across the entire state of Tamil Nadu. We priced [our book on the] political history of America, an 850 page hardbound book at Rs. 350 which is at the highest end of pricing in the Tamil market and yet the book has sold over 1000 copies in less than a year's time. We have learnt from booksellers that the buyers of the book on the political history of America and the one on the 9/11 attack ranged from politicans to policemen! What better indicator of the hunger for knowledge.