“Books will stay till doomsday”

17

Says author, publisher & renowned TV host
Saniyasnain Khan in conversation with Varsha Verma of AABP.

The vehicle of content is changing. Earlier, people used to memorise stories, then it took the form of a book and now the buzz is digital. As a publisher, we need to keep pace with the changing times, more so for the children’s books, says Saniyasnain Khan, an Indian television host, publisher and children’s author, with over 100 children’s books to his credit.

His book range on subjects relating to Islam and a number of them have been translated into different languages like French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Malay, Arabic, Urdu and other languages. More recently, he was in news for winning the Sharjah Children’s Book Award for his book, The Story of Khadija.

On asking about his inspiration to write, he shares that his kids were his inspiration. “When my kids were small, there were hardly any good books available for their age group. Whenever I went to US, UK or other western countries, I used to get them books. I saw there is a huge demand for such book. I tried my hand at writing, starting with small book stories from Quran. People liked the idea and that gave me motivation to write. Soon, my books were exported to countries like US, Canada, England and they were also translated into different European languages like Spanish, French, German, etc,” he shares. He particularly mentions that he used to get good inquiries for rights at the Frankfurt Book Fair and he himself made good deals as well. More recently, he bought rights of a few books from Turkey.

What makes this author different from other authors is that his books have no fiction. “The stories are picked up from Quran and from the stories of Prophet. These books are suitable for children from ages six onwards,” he adds.

Saniyasnain always strives to keep the language of his books as simple as he can. “Children like to see the details, that’s why in new covers and new books, we have changed the pattern and now use more intricate designs,” he tells. Little wonder then that books take more than three to six months in designing.

Readers can now look forward to his new series on Prophet Muhammad Story Books. “Book 1 & 2 are already into print while I am working on Book 3. Also, there is a huge demand for bilingual dictionaries and we are coming up with Dictionary for Children in Arabic & English,” he shares. His publishing house Goodword Books has 1,000 titles, adding about 10-15 titles every year.

On asking about the declining reading habit in children, he replies, “Parents should read out stories to their children and explain and discuss them every day before going to bed. This will build a foundation for them and make them interested in reading.”

Saniyasnain is looking forward to the various seminars and presentation for digital platform at the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair 2013. “Mobile app has become very important and publishers are trying their best to bring it out in the most effective way,” he adds.

He is now planning to start their own IT department at Goodword Books, to focus on apps and ebooks. So, would the printed books fade away? “Books will stay till the doomsday,” he replies fast and we all would definitely agree.

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