The virtual world of social media is shivering in shock to find the closing down of the Westland Publishing House owned by Amazon. Authors, literary agents and even its top employees received this update only a day before the closure of the House. The reason behind such a sudden action, however, is quite unclear. "After a thorough review, we have made the difficult decision to no longer operate through Westland. We are working closely with the employees, authors, agents, and distribution partners on this transition as we remain committed to innovating for customers in India," Amazon informed in a statement.
Since Westland had a long list of books to be published under it, no expert suspected this shut down due to sloped lines of profit. Book business in India, as we know, is tough to blow since the zenith of its worth and value had been seen long before. These are the odourless colours of Capitalism.
In 1962, K. S. Padmanabhan began East-West books, which later grew as the Westland Publishing House and was managed by his son Gautam Padmanabhan. It took the badge of Amazon in 2016 after a tiring time of publishing under Trent Ltd., a subsidiary of the Tata group. The publishing house hosted prominent authors like Chetan Bhagat, Diwekar Rujuta, Amish Tripathi, Devdutt Pattanaik, and Preethi Shenoy. The distinctiveness lies in the upholding of voices and not voice. "Westland is my publisher and did so much for me, taking a chance on a non-celeb author. The editors are the best in India, and they brought out the best and most hard-hitting," the author of Lady Doctors: The Untold Stories of India's First Women in Medicine, Kavitha Rao, tweeted.
Many leading authors are concerned about the closure. Shashi Deshpande, who had a recent Westland publishing Subversions: Essays on Life and Literature, told The Federal, “it is too bad what has happened. Westland published such a good number of books, even during the pandemic. They also helped so many new authors to establish themselves. Five years is not enough time to establish a publishing company. What happens to the authors now? Where do the books go? It is too bad. I hope something good comes out of this."
Despite the State by S Rajashekhar, The New BJP by Nalin Mehta, Whole Numbersand Half-Truths by Rukmini S, and The Silent Coup by Josy Joseph are some of the recent publishings by The Westland.
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