New Delhi: Indian publishing's poster boy is back. David Davidar, the man who virtually invented market-facing English language publishing in India, is setting up a new publishing firm. Named the Aleph Book Company, the firm is being set up by Davidar in partnership with Rupa Publications India.
Davidar brings his huge editing and publishing skills - which took Penguin India to new heights in India - to the table, while Rupa contributing a solid sales and distribution network as well as the financial muscle behind the venture. Said Davidar, who returned to India earlier this year after leaving his job as CEO of Penguin Canada, where he also looked after some of the group's global markets.
Aleph is likely to start as a boutique publisher, producing a small but select set of titles. The inspiration, it is believed, is Faber & Faber - with a strong focus on non-fiction, besides fiction. It isn't clear, however, whether poetry is on the menu.
Said Davidar: " I am thrilled to join hands with Rupa to launch this venture. We will be looking be ensure that each book we publish makes its mark and to that any title that Aleph takes on will be distinctive, original and outstanding literary quality. Our books will be creatively packaged and innovatively marketed with traditional retail and print outlets as well as digital and online channels. However, no matter how excellent the editorial and marketing capabilities of a publishing company, for any book to succeed in India, a deep understanding of the market and effective distribution network are essential. Rupa has an excellent relationship with retailers nationwide and its sales and distribution capabilities are unmatched. I has seven full-fledged sales offices around the country and reache deeper into the market than any other distributor. And so every Aleph book and author will have an excellent chance of succeeding in the market."
Kapish G Mehra, Managing Director of Rupa, said: " Aleph is the perfect way to commemorate our 75th anniversary as the new company will complement and round out our existing publishing. We at Rupa our privileged to work with David, as we take the next big step in our publishing journey."
The Aleph book Company derives its name multiple sources - among other things Aleph is the first letter in many alphabets; it is a point in space that contains everything in the universe, as imagined by Jorge Luis Borges in his famous short story, 'The Aleph', and in mathematics it is associated with infinite sets in set theory.
David Davidar has been a publisher for over a quarter century and in course of his career he had has edited and worked some of world's most renowned authors, including, Kiran Desai, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra, Rohinton Mistry, Salman Rushdie, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Khushwant Singh, RK Narayan, Shobhaa De, Romila Thapar, Shashi Tharoor, Suketu Mehta, William Dalrymple, Mohsin Hamid and Ramachandra Guha.
Davidar is the author of the novel The House of Blue Mangoes , which was published in 2002. It was translated into 16 languages and was a New York Times Notable Book and a Book Sense Pick. His second novel, The Solitude of Emperors, was published in 2007 and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His wife, Rachna, a bookseller, has worked for a number of booksellers in India and Canada, including The Bookshop in New Delhi (which her family owns), Nicholas Hoare, Ben McNally Books and McNally Robinson in Toronto.
Davidar had to leave Penguin Canada after a controversy concerning allegedly inappropriate behaviour with a colleague.