Sixthsense Publications booth at Chennai Book Fair.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Sixthsense Publications from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, was an exhibitor during the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) in 2022.
Founded by Pugalendi Subbiah in 2000, it will be a repeat participant in the Fair this year. Sixthsense Publications brings out a wide variety of publications in different divisions such as Children, Business, Classical Novels, Cooking, Fiction, General Knowledge, Health, Biographies and Humour, plus others. “We have published books in various genres that caters to the day to day needs of any person who strives to live a purposeful life,” says Karthikeyan Pugalendi, Sixthsense CEO. “Our books on self-improvement and time and money management provide tailor made solutions for your challenges. We also publish books on computer and information technology, purely with the motive of getting the basics across to a layman also.” The Pugalendis spoke to Gulf Today about their SIBF experience
What drew you towards the Sharjah International Book Fair?
Sixthsense Publications is one of the leading Tamil publishing houses based in Tamil Nadu. “World’s knowledge mines unearthed for you” is the motto with which we are publishing books. We have translated biographies capturing the method in the madness of eminent personalities and luminaries, elucidated compound philosophies and compiled important historical events and classics from the world languages into Tamil. In a calendar year, we take part in 40 book fairs in Tamil Nadu alone. For the last five years, we wanted to reach out to the Tamil reading population settled overseas. Next to Malaysia and Singapore, Sharjah has been always at the top of our go-to book fair destinations, based on customer inquiry.
How many books did your stall have at last year’s Fair?
Though we did not take part in the previous editions of the SIBF directly, our books were offered there for the last three years. We had an opportunity to visit the Fair in 2021. Based on the interactions with the Tamil reading population here, we understood that it is quintessential to cover as many writers across as many genres to fulfill readers’ needs. We brought works from a collection of 50+ Tamil prominent publishing houses, covering the creations of 500+ renowned writers and spanning around 5,000 diverse titles - which made it 50,000+ books.
Left, Karthikeyan Pugalendi, CEO, Sixthsense Publications and Subbiah Pugalendi, Founder, Sixthsense Publications.
How has the Tamil reading population here responded so far?
The intent is great. Young parents, especially those who are raising their kids in a foreign land, rely on books to a great extent to equip themselves before they can teach their children to read or write in Tamil. Also, not many are lucky enough to plan their travel in sync with major book fairs taking place in Tamil Nadu - Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Erode. Moreover, even if they make it there, they may not be able to carry their colossal hauls at the book fairs! They want us to reach out to the libraries and bookstores here, so that they can always walk in and grab a copy even after the fairs have ended. They understand it is crucial to turn up in large numbers and show their support; we can use the data to pitch our books to them. We are sure that with the help of our State government, we will be able to serve the purpose better in the coming years.
Can you tell us a few words about SIBF support and coordination?
We take this opportunity to thank Sunil, Capexil India, for supporting us in all our endeavours. Mohan Kumar, who is in charge of the international side of the Fair, has been very supportive and has always been available for queries or support. The way the Fair is conducted from the Publishers Conference to the closing ceremony and the consistency with which global cultural exchanges have happened over the years, is commendable. We are privileged to be a part of the event and acquired many takeaways that we wanted to share and incorporate in the book fairs that happen in Tamil Nadu.
Can you tell us about the Tamil reading diaspora?
As one of the ancient classical languages that are still adept and alive, Tamil literature has been a treasure trove of our cultural heritage’s historic significance. Countries such as Singapore have made Tamil one of their official languages as a way of acknowledging the contribution of Tamils to their nation-building. The Tamil publishing fraternity has been on par with publishers worldwide in making international bestsellers available in the Tamil language. The Tamil reading population knows that their writers are rooted in their field and are in the same league as their global counterparts. They have pride in it. So we do believe the onus is on us to take this further.
What are the international book fairs you have participated in so far?
For the past 25 years, we have been taking part or hosting book fairs — literary festivals for the Tamil reading population - in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi. We have collaborated with various Tamil sangams (assemblies) in hosting special fairs in the UK, US, Germany, and Canada. But one has to congratulate SIBF for striking the right balance between customers and publishers, giving us the best of both worlds.
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