With the advent of social media, more and more writers are taking to this platform more than printed books to get immediate response from readers, according to Bengali poet Srijato Bandyopadhyay.
“Consider the series of blogger deaths in Dhaka. I had instantly reacted through my writings on Facebook after one such incident took place in February,” said Srijato, who is popular for giving poetic expression to people’s reaction on current events.
“Now if I had to wait for the printed book to give vent to my anguish, I would have to wait for my next book to hit the stands,” said Srijato whose poems on events like Pathankot terror attack strike a chord with people instantly.
“And if you post one write up, there is 10,000 likes in an one hour. A book instead has to go through certain production procedures - from printing, to binding, to cover illustrations to marketing. It takes a lot of time,” he said.
He was speaking while taking part in a debate, “The era of Bengali Books is over”, organised by Publishers & Booksellers Guild, at a city book store last evening.
One of the most prominent Bengali poet-lyricist of the present time recalled the Shahbag movement in Bangladesh or the ‘Hok Kolorob’ movement in Javadpur University to prove his point. Such movements across the country’s campuses have been fuelled not by pamphlets but through social media, he said.
However, after the immediate reaching out to the audience is over, a writer craves for compiling his/her works in book form and here fits in the printed world, which will never go away altogether, Srijato said.
Publisher, writer and Publishers & Booksellers Guild secretary Tridib Chatterjee, however, begs to differ, saying there had been 15 per cent rise in sale of books in the last Kolkata Book Fair.
“I want to ask Srijato how this was made possible? When cinema came, people predicted that other forms of art will soon face extinction. But did that happen?” he asked.
“What portends real danger is not the threat from social media, but the addiction of the younger generation to English paperbacks,” Chatterjee said.
They take only four hours to complete English paperbacks and, for Bengali books, they halt several times and take five days to complete, Chatterjee said.
Echoing Chatterjee, Guild director and publisher Sudhangshu Dey said social media could never pose a threat to Bengali books.
“What our real threat instead is the attractive packaging and cover illustration and graphics of English books. We have to match their production quality in every aspect including fonts. And we are,” he said.