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Amazon Closes Westland Publishers – Buy These 33 Books Before They Disappear By February End

Amazon’s announcement to close Westland Books and its 4 imprints by 28th February 2022 is a huge blow to its authors. Can you do this to help?

On the 1st of February 2022, Amazon announced that by the end of the month, Westland Books will be closed. This includes books published by Westland, as well as those published under its imprints Context, Tranquebar, Westland Non-Fiction, and the children’s imprint Red Panda.

This has been a huge blow to the authors who have been published by one of these. What happens to their books, their creative babies, their labour of love?

Westland is a homegrown publishing house that has been built and grown over the past 6 decades of independent India, that has lourished and done “incredible work” under the leadership of its chief editor VK Karthika, and we can easily say that it carries the voice of Indians in print.

Everything is still under wraps and we don’t really know what will happen, but I’ve been thinking about this lament in Scroll that says, “for Amazon to do this to a publishing company interferes not just with the tastes of a nation, but with a nation’s ability to tell its own stories;… to express, openly and without fear, its immeasurably many selves.”

Amazon isn’t giving any explanations, though a representative has said that they are “working closely with the employees, authors, agents, and distribution partners on this transition and we remain committed to innovating for customers in India.”

The word is that all rights will revert to the authors, and their books will not be available in the market anymore, either the paper print copies or the Kindle versions. I am trying to find out if Kindle versions bought by readers stay with them – the consensus seems to be that yes, if you have bought and downloaded a Kindle version, it stays with you, but it is likely that if the proprietary file format for Kindle books is changed, they might not be accessible on newer Kindle models. There’s always that danger.

That said, if you, like me, are a bibliophile, and who values the work authors put in to create their books, and the whole experience of reading, maybe like me, you’d want to buy copies for yourself while they are still available. You can also gift them to others, or request your colleges, universities, and libraries you frequent to buy copies.

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As things stand, the books in print will be available till the 28th of February 2022.

Note: While the books here are linked to their listing on Amazon for the sake of convenience, I would request those of you who can, to please buy from indie bookstores, as lack of support to these bookstores is as much a part of this problem as Amazon itself. There’s a list of bookstores later in the article.

Listing here a few books I’d recommend, written by Indian authors who are women.

Incantations Over Water

By Sharanya Manivannan

The book is part of a duology on Ila of the Kallady lagoon, accompanying a picture book for children, Mermaids in the Moonlight. In Incantations Over Water, Ila the mermaid is the narrator, and offers what the author calls a “self-portrait without mythology.”

Available here.

Lady Doctors: The Untold Stories of India’s First Women in Medicine

By Kavitha Rao

Women doctors are the norm today. The ideas of women training to be doctors were unacceptable in the past, and would have remained so if it wasn’t for a few women who were determined to change things. These are the stories of 6 such pioneer women.

Available here.

In Search of Heer

by Manjul Bajaj

The legend of Heer and Ranjha, told from multiple perspectives, set against the lush riverbanks and rugged countryside of West Punjab, this is a wise, passionate and lyrical retelling of one of the subcontinent’s most beloved epics.

Available here.

It’s All in Your Head, M

by Manjiri Indurkar

Manjiri Indurkar was in her twenties; working, and living away from home with her partner, when she fell violently ill… what was her body telling her about a need to address the violence of her past?

Available here.

Listen to Me

by Shashi Deshpande

Shashi Deshpande’s name is synonymous with Indian writing in English. Here is her biography in which she opens up about her life and work.

Available here.

Subversions: Essays on Life and Literature

by Shashi Deshpande

A collection of essays that invites its readers to actively and compassionately enter a fascinating dialogue with others on India’s contemporary social, literary, and political issues.

Available here.

Qabar

By K.R. Meera

In this illusory landscape are the hard truths about the intertwined histories of Hindus and Muslims in India, as well as the chasms between men and women. A hypnotic novella by K.R. Meera, deftly translated by Nisha Susan, Qabar echoes with the dizzying knowledge that verdicts are not solutions.

Available here.

Eating in the Age of Dieting

by Rujuta Diwekar

Rujuta Diwekar is amongst the most followed nutritionists globally, and a leading health advocate. Over the past decade, her writings have decisively shifted food conversations across the country away from fads and towards eating local, seasonal and traditional. This is a collection of some of her writings on various related issues.

Available here.

Milk Teeth

By Amrita Mahale

Childhood allies Ira Kamat and Kartik Kini meet on the terrace of their building in Matunga, Mumbai, while a meeting is in progress to decide the fate of the establishment and its residents.

Milk Teeth is subtle, incisive, unputdownable.

Available here.

Bombay Balchao

By Jane Borges

Set in Cavel, a tiny Catholic neighbourhood on South Bombay’s D’Lima Street, this delightful debut novel is painted with many shades of history and memory, laughter and melancholy, sunshine and silver rain.

Available here.

Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India

By Suchitra Vijayan

Midnight’s Borders, featuring over forty original photographs, is a compelling narrative of a country in crisis, turning against its own people while coping with the legacy of colonialism and Partition. As the margins close in on the mainland, this necessary account forces a reckoning with the brutality that informs India’s relationship with its borderlands.

Available here.

Lady, You’re the Boss

By Apurva Purohit

‘So, do you intend to work after marriage?’ ‘I am the COO of an organisation. Obviously, I intend to work after marriage!’ No man has ever been asked this question. For a working woman, it’s par for the course.

Available here.

Aranyaka: Book of the Forest

By Amruta Patil

Aranyaka: Book of The Forest, by Amruta Patil and Devdutt Pattanaik, loosely inspired by the Upanishadic story of rishi Yajnavalkya and his two wives, Katyayani, and Maitreyi, brings to us timeless lessons about ecology, feminism, and empathy.

Available here.

Exquisite Cadavers

By Meena Kandasamy

Exquisite Cadavers is a story about a young couple navigating love in London, and a literary hall of mirrors about an author navigating the inspirations behind her work.

Available here.

Out of Print: Ten Years : An Anthology of Stories

Indira Chandrasekhar

A decade ago, in 2010, Indira Chandrasekhar set up Out of Print to address a need she felt as a writer: a focused platform for the short story; a space for robust editorial discussions as well as one that would serve as a platform for discoveries—of newer facets of the form itself and of new writing. This commemorative volume hopes to capture something of that adventure.

Available here.

The PCOD – Thyroid Book

By Rujuta Diwekar

Rujuta Diwekar’s The PCOD Thyroid Book throws light on a baffling and complex disorder that affects women’s lives in very fundamental ways – physical and social.

Available here.

The Nameless God

By Savie Karnel

In a world polarised along religious lines, The Nameless God offers a vision of another way of being. This powerful and moving story of friendship and understanding brings home the pointlessness of the invisible boundaries created by different faiths.

Available here.

The House that BJ Built

By Anuja Chauhan

This is the sequel to her equally well known Those Pricey Thakur Girls, both romcoms.

Available here.

The Women Who Forgot to Invent Facebook and Other Stories

By Nisha Susan

This is one of those books you have to think about after you put it down – it eludes description somehow. For those who read to escape – this is like a journey through very different, and sometimes uncomfortable, worlds.

Available here.

The Anatomy of Hate

By Revati Laul

Revati Laul’s unforgettable narrative, built on a decade’s worth of research and interviews, is the very first account of the perpetrators of 2002—and a crucial new addition to the literature on violence.

Available here.

The Begum and the Dastan

By Tarana Husain Khan

Set in 1897 in the princely state of Sherpur, this is the story of the beautiful and wilful Feroza Begum. Inspired by real-life characters and events, The Begum and the Dastan is a haunting tale of a grand city and its women.

Available here.

Dasavatara

By Piyusha Vir

Daśāvatāra is a fun retelling of stories about Lord Vishnu’s ten avatars, how they manifest in the world and how they save it. Trekking across these pages are also fearless warriors and kings, mystical and mythical creatures, powerful gods and goddesses and powerful demons.

Available here.

Alternative Realities: Love in the Lives of Muslim Women

By Nighat M Gandhi

Alternative Realities is the author’s attempt to deconstruct the demeaning stereotypes that prevail about all Muslim women. It is a reflection of the myriad ways in which, despite misogynistic forces, they continue to weave webs of love and peace in their own lives and in the lives of those they live with.

Available here.

What We Know About Her

By Krupa Ge

Krupa Ge’s debut novel is an absorbing tale of an angsty young woman who must unravel the secrets of her family before she can untangle her own life.

Available here.

The Autobiography Of A Sex Worker

By Nalini Jameela

This is Nalini Jameela’s story, told in her inimitably honest and down-to-earth style, of her search for dignity, empowerment and freedom on her own terms as a sex-worker.

Available here.

Where We Come From, Where We Go

By Uddipana Goswami

Here are thirty tales that come from the seven sister states of Northeast India, tales that have been in circulation orally for generations, but brought together in this manner for the first time.

Available here.

Left Behind: Surviving Suicide Loss

By Nandini Murali

This profoundly moving book is an important contribution towards addressing the shame, secrecy, silence and stigma of suicide loss, and a step towards bringing it out of the closet.

Available here.

Tongue-in-Cheek: The Funny Side of Life

By Khyrunnisa A

A fun collection of short articles that deals with everyday experiences in a humorous fashion, Tongue-in-Cheek has something for every reader. Each piece offers an entertaining inside account of the experiences and misadventures of an urban woman.

Available here.

One and a Half Wife

By Meghna Pant

Amara is caught in a tug-of-war between old obedience and new friends who encourage independent thought. With Powerful insights, One and a Half Wife traces the coming-of-age of multiple characters, while re-defining family, relationships and love in contemporary India.

Available here.

It Has No Name

By Payal Dhar

Sami, a sixteen-year-old, is often asked: “Are you a boy or a girl?” A sensitively told story of a gay teen in India, a much needed representation.

Available here.

Tawaifnama

By Saba Dewan

As affluent and powerful as they were, tawaifs were marked by the stigma of being women in the public gaze, accessible to all. In the colonial and nationalist discourse of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this stigma deepened into criminalisation and the violent dismantling of a community. Tawaifnama is the story of that process of change, a nuanced and powerful microhistory set against the sweep of Indian history.

Available here.

Zoon

By Selina Sen

A love story that mixes reel and real life, past and present, of a Bollywood actor and played out against the violence and volatility of Kashmir.

Available here.

Some contacts for indie bookstores

Please check with the one in your city or the nearest one if they ship to your residence. Some ship internationally – do check. You’ll find contact details (phone, email) at these links.

Bangalore: Bookworm, Blossom Book Store, Champaca Bookstore Library & Cafe

Kolkata: Storyteller

Delhi: Eureka! Bookstore, Bahrisons, Full Circle Bookshop

Goa: Dog Ears Bookshop, Literati Bookshop & Cafe

Pune: Pagdandi Bookstore

Mumbai: Trilogy Bookshop and Cafe, Kitab Khana

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About the Author

sandhya renukamba

In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya Renukamba is fortunate to associate every day with a whole lot of smart and fabulous writers and readers. A doctor read more...

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