India’s biggest selling English language author, Chetan Bhagat, has entered a multi-book contract with Amazon Publishing. In a major publishing coup, Amazon announced that they will publish six new books by Bhagat – three novels as well as collections of his popular (and often divisive) newspaper columns.
While the announcement may mean even greater reach and exposure for Bhagat’s novels, it is a blow to Rupa Publications, who have published all seven novels and two non-fiction titles by Bhagat since he burst onto the scene with Five Point Someone in 2004. Bhagat is by far the biggest name on their roster of authors, with his books estimated to have sold seven million copies. Rupa took on Bhagat’s debut after several publishers rejected his manuscript, in the process spawning a whole new wave of commercial fiction in the country.
“Amazon’s online advantage and their commitment to reach every corner of India ties in well with my goals of inspiring every Indian read books. Further, Amazon’s global reach, especially with Kindle eBooks, will give me readers worldwide,” Bhagat said.
According to industry sources, Rupa made a counter-offer to Amazon’s, but Bhagat eventually decided to shift. His new books will be published by Westland, the publishing company acquired by Amazon in 2016, and for the famously aggressive e-retailer, the acquisition of Bhagat’s books is a major move towards cementing its hold over publishing in India.
“Amazon Publishing is excited to work with Chetan and publish his books to a wider audience including readers both in India and abroad,” said Jeff Belle, Vice President, Amazon Publishing. “Millions of readers have enjoyed Chetan’s work for over a decade. His books deftly weave together the everyday life of youngsters with the prevalent social milieu of our time.”
The first book of the deal, a novel, will be published in October 2018.