Amazon announces closure of Westland publishing house
Nearly six years after Indian was acquired by global retail conglomerate Amazon Publishing house Westland in 2016 announced the closure of what had since become one of India’s top local products. editors.
In an email response, an Amazon spokesperson said: “After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to no longer operate Westland. We are working closely with employees, authors, agents and channel partners on this transition and we remain committed to innovating for customers in India.
The spokesperson did not respond to questions sent by The Indian Express on what necessitated the decision and the fate of the publishing house’s long list.
Lead by editor VK Karthika, Westland’s has published a wide range of books ranging from literary fiction and political analysis to translations and children’s books. In particular, his lists of non-fiction and translated works stood out for their incisive analysis and inclusiveness.
Westland operates several publishers, including Context (for literary fiction), Tranquebar (for non-fiction), Eka, its bhasha publishing division, and Red Panda, their children’s division. Some of the authors on their list include JCB Award for S Hareesh Literature Laureates, M Mukundan. Others on their list include Perumal Murugan, KR Meera, Josy Joseph, Malavika Prasad, Nisha Susan, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar among others. The company’s business roster includes best-selling authors such as Chetan Bhagat, Amish, Preeti Shenoy and Ashok Banker. Recently they had published Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani’s first novel, Lal-Salaam.
— Dhaval Kulkarni (धवल कुलकर्णी) 🇮🇳 (@dhavalkulkarni) February 1, 2022
According to sources within the organization, the news of the shutdown was officially announced on Tuesday morning by the company’s CEO, Gautam Padmanabhan. Employees had no prior idea of the impending announcement. Authors on their list have not yet been informed of the rights to their work and what happens to work in progress. Incidentally, in case of breach of contract, the party that does not fulfill its obligations, is responsible for compensation of damages to the party that complies.
All the brilliant editors, reviewers and authors of #Westland will find a way forward. As for their list…these books will be read, remembered and cited for years to come.
— Nicholas Rixon (@nicholasrixon_) February 1, 2022
The closure of publishing houses, even in times of financial crisis, is not a usual phenomenon in the literary industry, where mergers and sales are more common. That’s why the news of the closure came as a shock to most.
Manjiri Indurkar, whose non-fiction book, It’s all in your head, M., was published by Tranquebar in 2020, with another book scheduled for publication this year, said, “I had the most wonderful time working with the Westland team. For the past two years I’ve told everyone they should consider sending their work to the publishing house because I haven’t had a single bad experience with them. That’s why I’m very heartbroken. The downfall of any literary institution is tragic, but they have published books so brave and of such high quality that it feels like a huge loss in these difficult times that we are going through. I’m not sure how to deal with this.
“This is shocking news. Karthika is one of our best writers and it is an absolute privilege to work with her,” said Delhi-based writer Devapriya Roy.
Terrible news: Amazon will close the publishing house Westland Books. 💔 Here are some of their most notable and impactful non-fiction books to come out in recent times. Read pic.twitter.com/juY7GKxpxO
— Jairaj Singh (@JairajSinghR) February 1, 2022