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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Open Letter: Penguin Random House India Regarding Its Annual Lecture

Every year since the last nine years Penguin India hosts an annual lecture which is delivered by some of the most eminent people of our times such as HH Dalai Lama, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Amitabh Bachchan and this year Dan Brown. I have been attending them since last year when I got to know about them. The talks are undoubtedly awe inspiring and mind blowing. Last year it was Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who spoke about his father, read a few of his poetry's and brought the audience to tears when he spoke about equality for women with the statistics of injustice like rape, foeticide, dowry , etc related issues happening in the nation. Everyone in the audience was spellbound. People got back home, posted videos, pictures and wrote blogs about it. It was an event to remember for a lifetime.

This year I got sleepless nights since the moment they announced that it would be none other than the man who got me interested in reading Dan Brown. He writes fiction concerning religion, symbols and science and his talk was therefore talking on the same topic. Being someone doing science and deeply interested in History, I hope you understand that his books give me and my kind of people a high. I would log on everyday onto Penguin's Facebook Page, Twitter etc. to see if the registrations were open and the day it was amazing to read a confirmation email for the same. I started thinking about the talk and would bring it up in every conversation I had with friends. Finally the day arrived and I was as happy as someone who discovered life on Mars. It was great to listen to hear the man live and I also got a chance to ask him a questions. Truly lucky there. 

However why I write to you today is for one thing that you hugely disappointed us for that day, getting our books signed. There were book counters outside the auditorium at Siri Fort. People bought them hoping to get it signed. The audience asked for it again and again and you said that shall happen in the end, but you just took him away. I would like to ask "Why give false hope?" "If he wasn't signing them why did you say he would do so?" 

While we understand there were a lot of people and in that case you could have limited it to one copy per person (Like Harper Collins did when Jeffrey Archer was here) but just taking an author away without a reason or an apology is really not what a publishing house of your stature is expected to do. As publishers you meet authors on a daily basis and I am not sure if you are crazy about anyone of your authors, but we as readers love books and people who write them. While we are really thankful that because of you we heard him live for the first time in this nation but you also have to understand that authors are not bollywood actors. People don't love them because they look good, the connect is intellectual. Readers like them for their thought and its presentation, their philosophies, etc. So unless the author himself is not uncomfortable in a crowd the least he should do is stay there for little longer and sign copies at the least. If not please do not give false hopes in future. Its okay to do that for bollywod actors not for a writer and we expect you as a publisher to understand it.  Though I have conveyed this to you earlier on twitter and you have chosen to neglect it (though you retweeted my other tweets with pictures and quotes from the lecture), I hope there will be a response this time. 


  1. Well Said, Nimi - but don't expect a response to this one too ... (: (:

    1. Well its their choce like voicing it is mine, and I really hope they do respond for I love their efforts in putting this sort of a public event. Just need a little more consideration for the readers when they have authors as speakers.

  2. Nice post Nimi... rasied an important point.. better not to promise that to break one is my motto

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