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Publishers making hay post copyright

May 22, 2008

Apart from music dealers, publishers too are reaping profits by selling Tagore's works in the post-copyright era.

According Badal Basu, one of the head honchos of Kolkata's largest publishing house, Ananda Publishers, "Tagore is still tremendously popular with readers across the world and in the post-copyright period, many publishers have come forward with innovative adaptations of Tagore's works."

This, he feels, has not only added to the revenue, but has also created a wider clientele. "People, who were so far used to Visva-Bharati brand, were offered a wide variety to choose from. An end to Tagore copyright did sometimes lead to a mad publishing rush and low grade publication, but it also opened new business avenues for many top ranking publishers across India," Basu says.

According to a publishing industry insider, out of an approximate Rs 50-crore (Rs 500 million) revenue earned by Bengali publishing industry every year on an average, at least Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) is culled from the sale of Tagore's literature.

However, if sales figures were any indication, Tagore still lags behind two other literary chart-toppers -- Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, the duo contributing more than Rs 7 to 8 crore (Rs 70 to Rs 80 million) annually.

Another Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) is accrued from sales of Tagore's paintings, posters, clay models, et al.

Image: An Indian artist makes clay models of Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan, 200 kms north of Kolkata.

Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP/Getty Images

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