I am a little uptight when it comes to reading books. I consider reading books to be an intellectually motivating activity, and believe this fine habit comes with a lot of practice. Reading is everyone’s hobby these days, thanks to the digital devices. That’s fair enough. But let me not delve deeper into this, lest unsavoury pulp fiction reads tumble out in the guise of literature!
There was a recent survey conducted by Amazon.in, in which Delhi topped the list of ‘most well-read city’. When I read the news, it brought a smile to my face. It was heartening to know that the city I called my own, is expanding intellectually. As I read the report further, my smile gradually changed into a smirk. The survey was misleading. The ‘Amazon.in’s Annual Reading Trends Report for 2015’ yielded very disappointing facts about India’s reading habits. The list consists of just statistical data that says which category/genre books have been sold the most!
The report says Amish Tripathi was the most sought-after author for his book Scion of Ikshvaku. His Shiva Trilogy remains the bestsellers across all languages! I was mortified by the second entry in the list. Let me tell you why! The Manorama Yearbook 2015 was ranked at second, and Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend stood at Number 3! The second most popular category is Children & Young Adult Books, with exam preparation books tagging right behind.
Amazon.in, you call this a reading trend? With two pulp fictions, and a general knowledge book topping the list, the company should have named the survey as ‘Top book selling trends.’ Selling and reading are two different things, or as same as chalk and cheese, if you would like it that way! The prior, in no way, reflects the emancipated intellectual faculty of Delhi. People from this city will throw away stashes of cash for buying a shiny new car, but would cringe at the idea of buying a book worth Rs 500.
Amish Tripathi and Chetan Bhagat are popular as writers, because they dish out trashy books, riddled with grammatical errors. For some, it’s easier to finish reading a Chetan Bhagat book while travelling on the Metro, than wrecking their brains trying to get past the first page of Amitav Ghosh’s Flood of Fire. Ironically, both dwell in Indian writing, a category that the list said was growing most popular.
A society that reads well, behaves well! It’s important to build a well-read society, where we inculcate the habit of reading at a young age. Or else, all that we will get to read is, how exam help books, or ‘kunjis’, as they are popularly known in Delhi, will top the list of book readers!