Know

Bynge jumping into Tamil fiction

Mohammed Rayaan | Updated on June 02, 2021

Chills and thrills: (From left to right) Jana Pillay, Naveen Valsakumar and Bhargava Adepalley co-founded Bynge to celebrate their love for Tamil fiction   -  RAVINDRAN R / THE HINDU

A new serialised Tamil fiction app hopes to capture those seeking to counter the lockdown with a good read

* Bynge was born on April 5 this year. Available for free on Android and iOS, it has received over 1 lakh downloads to date and has stories in varied genres including romance, thriller, mystery and self-help

* When you write for a magazine, it is a one-way communication because you don’t hear much from the readers. But through Bynge, the writers get live feedback and comments directly from the readers which can be exciting

***

When the first lockdown gripped the country last year, Naveen Valsakumar, co-founder of Notion Press, embraced it as an opportunity to fall in love with fiction yet again. He and the other founders of the Chennai-based self-publishing house — Jana Pillay and Bhargava Adepalley — had all grown up devouring fiction. But over the years, Valsakumar says he had predominantly been reading non-fiction.

Staying at home in Chennai and wondering what to read, he came across serialised fiction on a few apps. “These were Chinese and Korean stories translated into English,” Valsakumar tells BLink. “As I started reading them, I enjoyed the stories but I couldn’t relate to them as much as I wanted to.” That’s when he felt the need for something like this in India, but in a local language. Valsakumar started working on the idea with the co-founders on how they could make it a platform for Tamil readers.

Melting pot: Over 1 lakh users have downloaded the app so far for genres varying from romance and thrillers to mystery and self-help   -  IMAGE COURTESY: BYNGE

 

“We grew up reading serialised fiction that used to come out in weekly or monthly Tamil magazines,” he says. An app, he says, would be one up on the magazine, because the serialised fiction stories would all be there on the platform. “In magazines, what happened was that sometimes readers were unable to keep track of these stories as they would miss out on few editions from the stands,” Valsakumar adds.

Unique writing experience

The team also focused on offering its users a design experience. “Indians offer some of the best apps but, in my observation, when it comes to regional languages, the quality is not so good,” he points out. “We aimed to offer the best user interface (UI) experience.”

Once the design aspect was sorted out, the team then decided to rope in top Tamil writers. “We have been in the publishing industry for many years now as Notion Press and that gave us the ability to quickly reach out to amazing writers. We commissioned them to write for us,” says Valsakumar. “We offer the finest of serialised fiction on Bynge.”

And, so, Bynge was born on April 5 this year. Available for free on Android and iOS, over 1 lakh users have downloaded the app till date to read varied genres from romance and thrillers to mystery and self-help. According to the NotionPress team, Bynge gets most of its readers from Chennai followed by Coimbatore and Madurai.

Bynge’s authors, the app says in a statement, include several prolific Tamil authors such as Charu Nivedita, known for his work Zero Degree and, Rajesh Kumar, popular for his numerous short crime fiction stories. The app also has other noteworthy authors such as Pattukkottai Prabhakar, Indira Soundararajan, Bava Sellathurai, Pa Ragavan and Kanchana Jayathilagar. It added that works of some eminent classical writers are to be included in the platform, Among them are Kalki, Na Parthasarathy, La Sa Ramamirdam, Savvy, Rajam Krishnan, Ki Va Jagannadhan, Vallikkannan and Su Samudram. “All the authors in our platform are paid,” Valsakumar adds.

Once users download the app, Bynge prompts them to create an account via Google or Facebook or email. It goes on to ask for basic details such as name and genre interests. Soon, users get on the home page of the app which lists the trending titles. As they scroll down, they also get to see titles offered by different authors. A user can adjust the font size, change its appearance and also add comments in each chapter.

Valsakumar strongly believes that writing for Bynge is a very “unique experience” for veteran authors who had been contributing to magazines for years. “When you write for a magazine, it is a one-way communication because you don’t hear much from the readers. But through Bynge, the writers get live feedback and comments directly from the readers which can be exciting,” he says.

Tailor made for readers

The authors agree. “I’ve been writing for several magazines and publications in the last few decades and I have never reached so many readers,” says Coimbatore-based writer Rajesh Kumar, who has penned several hundred Tamil novels and short stories. His serial fiction Nal Iravu Seidhigal Vaasipadhu Durga had reached over 4.2 lakh readers, he says. “It feels heartwarming when I read the feedback and comments of my readers. Some say that they have been following my work for all these years. Sometimes, I even chart out my next chapter based on the readers’ reaction,” he says. Different authors have varied reading time for each of their chapters. A chapter in Kumar’s story takes an average of five to six minutes. Kumar also feels that his story went ‘viral’ because of its subject matter — a virus.

“My story is about a scientist who is trying to create a virus with the plan to destroy the world. There are other characters who are working hard to stop his plans,” he says. “Each of my chapters has a solid beginning like a pattaas (bang) and it ends with a cliffhanger which keeps my readers hooked. I do a lot of research for the chapters and include authenticity. Maybe that’s why people like reading them.”

How does Bynge earn a revenue? The plan so far is to let the platform grow in more languages and keep it for free. “Offering top quality content and best reading experience for our users will always be our priority,” Valsakumar says.

Published on June 02, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.