Interview with R. Ramachandran, Executive Director of the National Book Development Council of Singapore
Here are a few snippets -
About why the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference, which has since grown in to the Asian Festival of Asian Content (AFCC) came into being in 2000:
As a librarian I realised that the availability of children’s literature with an Asian focus was limited: limited in number, that is. And those books that were available were not attractively produced and were aggressively marketed. The good books produced by the Asian diaspora were too expensive and again not readily distributed in Asia. Asian children were not reading about themselves. The books that were being read were not set in an environment that they were familiar with and could relate to. In the meantime, schools and libraries were being developed. The need for materials for Asian Children was urgent.
About the work of the NBDCS:
Organisations like ours must continue our efforts to impress upon people that stories, reading and writing are fundamental, no matter what form they take and no matter how technology develops.
And about the future of the book:
I still see scope for books as we know them. But a book will have to become a work of art, a niche publication that combines the beauty of paper, words and art on paper, packaged and presented in all its glory to the reader. Such a book will always have a place and a market, even as technology advances and impacts on book publishing as a whole. Like libraries, books will not perish. They will embrace technology, and reinvent themselves as a niche player. [...]
What concerns me, though, is that there appears to be a lack of confidence among publishers to rethink and use the changes in technology to present the book in all its might and glory, and to exploit its unique features to retain the readers and buyers.
Rama certainly provides food for thought – what do you think?
Read the complete interview here.