Street-smart best-sellers

They are targeted as fun, fast and feisty reads. In fact on www.metroreads.in, a slew of titles like The Premier Murder League and With You or Without You are all presented with a catchy tag line - 'This could be your story'. With more and more writers jumping onto the bandwagon, it is probably a case of just that. The pages aren't weighed down with heavy words or flowery language. Colloquial lingo is making these books into easy page-turners. The latest examples of this category are Corporate Atyachaar by Abhay Nagarajan which was launched this month, and Oh yes I am single... and so is my girlfriend by Durjoy Datta and Neeti Rustagi, which was released in December 2010.

Ahmed Faiyaz, author of Love Life and All That Jazz , says that publishers have capitalised on this market. The ample opportunity for growth and retail that they provide is evident. "Such books become best-sellers in a matter of days owing to their simple language," the author says. "The quality of writing is far from serious. These books usually sell by word-of-mouth publicity," he adds.

Chetan Bhagat is one writer who ushered in this new wave of writing. His books, be it Five Point Someone (2004), or the 2010-released 2 States , use simple, everyday lingo as one of their strong selling points. His style of writing has a whiff of fresh air and a representation of the changing face of the country. And it is probably its mass appeal and high conversational value that is turning the book into a movie.

To name a few others who have been following this trend of using easy language, there is Tushar Raheja with his book Anything for You Ma'am, or Durjoy Dutta and Maanvi Ahuja with their books Of course I Love you-Till I find someone better or Now that You are Rich-Lets fall in Love. Author Paritosh Uttam, who has written the novel Dreams in Prussian Blue, opines, "The people who read these books are in the age group of 14-24. They are mostly college students or fresh graduates, IT professionals and BPO employees who haven't been exposed to serious literature. Such light-hearted reads interest them."

Ritika Mehta, a final year Commerce student at Wadia College, says that the language makes the plot appear simpler. "Plus, most of these books are about college life and youngsters. We can relate to such stories and even the lingo used."

This entry of new books has brought in a divide into Indian literature. Grey Oak Publishing acknowledges this change. Prachi Vohra, one of the founders of the publication house, says, "We can now broadly categorise publishers into three brackets, according to the authors that they publish. The base level publishers are the ones who usually endorse first-time writers. More often than not, they focus on a pedestrian style of writing to cater to the mass market. They are characterised by tacky book covers, shoddy editing and even very raw writing."

Vohra describes the other two categories as the mid-level and the high-end publishers who publish reputed Indian writers. "Mid-level publishers like us concentrate on urban readers who read on a variety of subjects and we publish authors who write commercial fiction. The best examples of these reads are Mediocre but Arrogant, Keep off the Grass, Another Chance, The Goat, The sofa & Mr. Swami and Call Me Dan."

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