This publishing juggernaut aims to reinvent how we read

This publishing juggernaut aims to reinvent how we read

By SRIJA NASKAR | | 30 April, 2016
Chiki Sarkar, co-founder of Juggernaut Books.
The newest entrant in Indian publishing, Juggernaut Books, which is co-founded by Chiki Sarkar and Durga Raghunath, changes the rules of how books are made and read, writes Srija Naskar.

Till now Kindle was the grand daddy of e-bookdom in India. Taking the publishing industry by storm, Chiki Sarkar and Durga Raghunath have founded a mobile-first digital platform for the Indian reading community. “All publishers want to bring their readers and writers close to each other and find new readers for themselves. This is our dream for the app,” said Sarkar.

Launched earlier this month, Juggernaut Books has launched its Android and iPhone app with a collection of over 100 books — including stories by Sunny Leone, crime thrillers, nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar’s new book on Indian superfoods, Pakistani queen of TV romance Umera Ahmed’s Nowhere Girl, psychiatrist Shyam K. Bhat’s guide to getting over heartbreak, and the Angry Birds books among others.

It all began in London two years ago. Sarkar was at the London book fair where she heard a data specialist talk about the cellphone novel craze in Japan and China. And that is how Juggernaut began to take shape.

It all began in London two years ago. Sarkar was at the London book fair where she heard a data specialist talk about the cellphone novel craze in Japan and China. When Sarkar, then publisher of Penguin Random House India, came back to office, she had suggested if Penguin could put its entire commercial list on phone. But that never happened. It was then that she quit in April 2015, found the perfect partner in Raghunath (previously the CEO of Firstpost), and that is how Juggernaut began to take shape. Not an online bookstore like Kindle but a tightly curated publishing house that is primarily on the app, along with 40-50 digital books that will be distributed by Hachette India from July onwards. The app also has books by Juggernaut partner publishers, such as Westland, Duckbill and Navayana. There is a huge collection of classics and stories that you can read for free too.

 All you need to do is download the app, pay an extremely subsidized fee through your credit, debit or PayTM account and just read! Discover new writers, share with friends, gift too, maybe. Welcoming the move by Juggernaut Books to partner with PayTM, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of PayTM said, “India’s mobile-first consumers make us a great discovery platform for new business models across industries. I am very happy that we at PayTM are partnering with one such pioneer in the publishing world. Durga and Chiki have cracked many parts of this puzzle already! I wish the whole Juggernaut team a great launch and success in bringing mobile publishing to new age authors and readers.”

Juggernaut has some interesting features too. There are serialised books, like the book of erotica (a collection of short stories) by Leone, which has caught eyeballs of late. The stories will reach your mobile phone at 10 p.m. sharp, one by one. Seven stories over seven nights for just Rs 7! Each a three-minute read. Even the reading screen has options of adjustments: you can double-click on your reading screen, and you will see options to read against a different background. If you like to read at night, there is a specially designed background to reduce stress on your eyes. You can even change the font size, and the spacing between the lines. “We’ve thought through many aspects of book browsing, buying, reading and authorship that cause friction and worked to make them easy, enjoyable and transparent. We hope to bring onboard a lot of new readers with our apps and engage the die-hards,” said Raghunath.

Also slated to be released by this digital publishing gamechanger is Kanhaiya Kumar’s debut book, Bihar to Tihar, which Sarkar has reportedly called “the defining book of our times”. The Juggernaut app is currently available only for Indian users, and will soon be available worldwide.

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