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Despite digitalization, comic books continue luring children in India

On eve of World Children's Book Week, publishers tell Anadolu Agency that children hook to digital world to read comics

Ahmad Adil   | 08.11.2021
Despite digitalization, comic books continue luring children in India FILE PHOTO

NEW DELHI

As reading habits die fast in the swiftly moving world, comic books in India still lure children and help publishers are writers to stay afloat.

"Comic popularity has increased. It is no longer considered only a children’s entertainment item. It is read by all age groups," Reena Puri, executive editor of Amar Chitra Katha, a household name in comic books in India, told Anadolu Agency on the eve of World Children's Book Week that begins on Monday.

In the digital age, when smartphones have overshadowed everything, she said the children in India are still reading comics and read them with interest.

Puri said the new trend being witnessed is the awareness about gender equality in the comics.

"We see more girls and women, heroes, in comics. That is a welcome improvement. There is sensitivity to race and color, though there is an increase in violence which is not pleasant," she said.

The advent of smartphones, tablets, and iPads has forced comic publishers as well to innovate and seek digital space for the characters.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Gulshan Rai, the owner of India's famous comic publisher Diamond Comics, said over the years the sale of print editions has gone down as children now seek to read from the digital world.

"Though print sales have gone down, digital ones have increased. The positive thing about the digital is that now comics are reaching a faraway place. We have so far uploaded our 2,000 comics online, and we plan to increase it to over 10,000," said Rai.

Rai said while it is time for digital gadgets, the print media will never die. “I think it will return," he said.

He added that parents were quite conscious these days to inculcate reading habits among children.


Print industry picking up again

"They are understanding the importance of reading ... The interest about comics among children is still there, but I think maybe the mode has changed. But the print will return,” said Rai.

Puri added that while the print industry took a major hit during the pandemic over the past one-and-a-half year, it is picking up again rapidly.

Mirza Afsar Baig, who owns the popular chain of Midland bookstores in New Delhi, said there is an increasing demand for graphic books also over the past few years.

"Children are now liking to read the text in graphics. The demand for graphics has increased over the last few years. Books are now coming in graphics which has increased the interest among children,” he said.

According to Baig, while digital has seen growth, people are switching to books again.

"So, I think the print era will return like the earlier times," he added.

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