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One of the many joys of being in the self-publishing business is getting to know people who are simply crazy about their books. After we published author Aniruddha’s translations of The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, all of which are impressive in themselves, we were delightfully surprised to meet Henk “Hobbithunter” Brassien. To understand why Henk is such an interesting person to know, we’d rather have Henk explain himself.

 Since many years I collect books by and on Tolkien. I am specialised in The Hobbit.On my site www.hobbithunter.nl you can find my collection of some 450 Hobbits in 66 languages / from 66 countries (including) the Bengali translations of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings.9789381542613

It all started in the end of 2010, when Aniruddha / Santi Chatterjee asked me if I was interested in a copy of The Hobbit in Bengali. Yes, I certainly was. The only problem was, that he did not have a publisher yet.

I advised him to try and find a publisher that would Print On Demand. And then Santi found Dogears (CinnamonTeal Publishing). (In) May 2011 I ordered five copies, later that year another ten. I am with early retirement and have – as a hobby – a webshop, where I sell books by and on Tolkien: www.hobbithunterbookshop.com.

My private copy of the Bengali Hobbit has a sticker with “This is the first copy”, of which I am very proud. Although I can not read one single word in Bengali, I like the illustrations that much, that I also ordered the Bengali translations of The lord of the Rings. Parts one and two have arrived, now I wait for the publication of part three.

That’s right! Translations of various Tolkien works in more than 66 languages now. With Bengali being the only Indian language among them, there is so much scope to add to Henk’s collection.

 

The unique ability of print-on-demand to produce only as many books as required allows us, at CinnamonTeal Publishing, to experiment in exciting ways. Like our partnerships with publishers around the world, that allow them to introduce their titles in India at practically no cost and allow us to introduce good books to our readers in India.

CinnamonTeal introduces the titles in India on its own website and those of its channel partners. The books are printed on sale and dispatched to customers. The publisher is thus able to sell within India and does not have to spend a dime in the process. All rights, even those for sale within India, still rest with the publisher. By this arrangement, CinnamonTeal only charges for printing and shipping. The rest, after accounting for channel discounts, is reimbursed to the publisher.

Using this model, CinnamonTeal has partnered with publishers in Nigeria, South Africa, UK, Canada and Australia, thus allowing readers in India access to good literature from these countries. It has also allowed lesser-known publishers to introduce their titles in India and receive a readership for them.

CinnamonTeal wishes to partner with more publishers using this model. If you are a publisher and are interested in finding more about how you could work with us, do write in at contactus@ cinnamonteal.in

To view these books, do visit our website at:
http://www.cinnamonteal.in/index.php?go=gallery9
http://www.cinnamonteal.in/index.php?go=gallery10

My romance with crime fiction started way back during my childhood. Thanks to Enid Blyton. Holidays, especially summer holidays meant trekking to the nearest library. The library close to my home in Malleswaram, Bengalooru, was actually a hole in the wall. It was a 10 feet by 15 feet window-less shop. Books were piled and strewn around in an organized way. The man who ran the shop had a constant sleepy expression. There was no way one could stroll around the shop and pick up a book they wanted. We had to stand near the entrance of the shop and tell him the book title. And he would find the book within a jiffy. How he did it …I have no clue. And so, it would be some Famous Five or Secret Seven for me, a James Hadley Chase for my Dad, a Sharat Chandra for my Grandmom, a Jane Austen for my mom and a Tintin for my sister. The books would be retrieved from dark, secret corners, dusted against his trousers and handed over. As far as I remember, there was no return date stamped. My dad would give ten rupees once in a month or once in two months, depending on the number of visits.

From Famous Five, my friends and I slowly graduated to Agatha Christie. Then came the wave of American teen detective fiction – Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. By then, someone had stealthily smuggled their dad’s copy of Forsyth’s Day of The Jackal. The book made rounds – and there were hushed reviews. Why were we wasting time reading ‘crap’ like Nancy Drew? More dads had their book shelves raided. There was someone called Robert Ludlum. Someone called Sidney Sheldon. Someone called Robin Cook. They all wrote ‘mind-blowing’ thrillers.

Decades later, as life has pecked away at much of our creativity thanks to mind-numbing corporate culture, my friends and I somehow managed to retain this single-most passion for crime thrillers. (The latest doing the rounds is of course Stieg Larsson.)

But time and again, I have been puzzled to find that for a country that laps up crime fiction, we don’t have a single internationally successfully author in the crime genre. Another strange fact, crime fiction is very much alive and kicking in regional languages. It is only now that English translations of these are furiously underway (ref: http://www.mid-day.com/specials/2010/may/020510-crime-fiction-agatha-christie-novels-tv-shows.htm). In fact, the leader in crime genre in Asia is Japan apparently! I found this interesting insight from an article in the Guardian. The only Indian author who got a mention is Vikram Chandra for Sacred Games. Check out http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/aug/27/top10s.asian.crime

I can only guess the reasons behind this fact –
1) Thanks to the Booker success (Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Aravind Adiga), more and more authors like to follow their footsteps and write similar literature.

2) Thanks to the success of Chetan Bhagat (and I am talking about Five Point Someone), we have a sudden flurry of activity from the ‘intellectual’ class. Management grads, investment bankers, IT consultants are all pounding away on the keyboard writing slim volumes on relationships in modern India.

3) Perhaps the lack of a sophisticated and glamorous law enforcement infrastructure – like the FBI and Scotland Yard in India is another factor. In most of the international crime thrillers the crime detection is as interesting as the crime itself. Authors like Patricia Cornwell have literally built up the CSI legend in USA with her detailed forensic analysis interwoven in her stories. Not that is impossible in an Indian setting. But it would require a detailed, ground-up research into the working of our police force. Going by the books that are getting published as we speak, it looks like no author has the time, or the inclination to put in such effort.

4) Perhaps there are good manuscripts, but they are rejected – the publishers rather put money in a proven genre than try out a new one
All said and done, the Indian publishing scene shows a lot of promise – at least on the author’s front. We have a whole generation of well-travelled, well-read authors, who are unafraid to pen their thoughts. On the other hand, I don’t see the publishing end keeping up with this talent pool. There is no innovation, no creativity to encourage new genres or market good authors internationally. I guess that’s the reason why more and more Indian authors who write on offbeat subjects go through the self-publishing route, or seek out agents abroad.

If you have written a crime thriller, I would really love to hear about your experience with agents/publishers in India!