Can the Mega-author Exist Without the Mega-bookstore?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Chetan Bhagat

In our lead article today, Liz Bury writes about the launch of Mills & Boon India, prompted in part by the widespread use of English, globalized communications and the growth of India’s middle-class, which likes to shop in the new chain bookstores and supermarket-style outlets in India’s metro centers and their newly-built shopping malls. The shift has also recently attracted Hachette and HarperCollins to India — who are also mining South Asia for authors that might work in other markets across the world

The question is, as India shift’s away from the traditional small-family run bookstore to the mega-store, what does this mean for the Indian author? There have always been star authors in India, but lately we’re beginning to see the emergence of the “mega-author” — Chetan Bhagat, for example — and consequently, the “blockbuster” syndrome that affects publishing in Europe and the Americas.

The question is: Can the mega-author exist without the mega-bookstore? Are they co-dependent? Could James Patterson ever have existed had there not been a Barnes & Noble? Further, does the potential growth of the e-book market — which many presage will signal a decline in the fortunes of bookstores — actually spell the end of the mega-bestseller, as markets become more fragmented, more niche?

Surely mega-authors can continue to sell books to their existing audiences, but will there be new mega-authors?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.