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Wednesday, Aug 07, 2002

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Favourites of yore back in bookshop

Sravanthi Challapalli


FOR those who think a trip to a musty, silverfish-infested second-hand book store is the only way they'll get some of the good old days back, there's good news. Desmond Bagley, Nevil Shute, Edgar Wallace, Georgette Heyer and a host of other authors are coming back, to thrill and tickle, and let you go on that nostalgia trip.

Westland Books, Chennai-based book distributor and a sister concern of the book, music and gift store, Landmark, is bringing to India a host of titles and authors that were hot favourites about 10-15 years ago but are out of print now.

Speaking to Business Line, Ms Hemu Ramaiah, Partner, Landmark, said the UK-based House of Stratus published these books. The `digital print to order' feature made these books special, as even a few books could be printed in paperback, as against offset printing, where cost-efficiency came about only if the quantities were larger. The novels, across a range of authors, cost Rs 295 at present; but as the pound is very strong right now, the price might be hiked to around Rs 325, she added.

The response, according to Ms Ramaiah, has been very good. Westland sells books worth Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh a month. Apart from individual buyers, these books are great favourites with libraries. There is considerable demand for them on the Internet too, with about five orders for these books coming in everyday.

Nevil Shute and Henry Cecil, whose books draw from the British legal system, are the most popular. The other titles now being revived include Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co, Under the Deodars, Collected Dog Stories, Seven Seas and Naulahka, Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy Hits Back, Eldorado and The Laughing Cavalier, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard and The Lost World, G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, The Napoleon of Notting Hill and Manalive, W.E. Johns' much-loved Biggles books and the Doctor series of Richard Gordon.

Ms Ramaiah says these books are popular with the older generation. In fact, these books are set in type larger than usual for a paperback. Some of the other books to look out for in the future are those of Irving Wallace, James Hadley Chase and Arthur Hailey. These authors are still popular in India while the rest of the world has moved on and this is a trait reflected in music and toys too, she says, remarking that product life cycles are shorter in other countries.

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Favourites of yore back in bookshop

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