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Kevin N. Haw
Posted on Saturday, August 25, 2007 - 07:33 pm:   

I'm in the middle of reading "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" by Thomas L. Friedman. For those of you who might not know, it's a detailed look at globalization, outsourcing, and other things of that ilk. The topic is near and dear to me in my day job as a computer programmer - I regularly see projects get outsourced that a few years ago would have stayed at home.

Reading Friedman's cheery (sometimes manic) optimism has gotten me wondering: What is F&SF's market penetration in India? With recent news stories harping on the number of Americans who never read books at all, India looks like a magnificent market for English fiction. Admittedly, only a fraction of 1.12 billion people in India are technology workers (a favorite demographic of SF), but even if 1 in a million are likely subscribers... well, you get the picture.

Expanding on that, I have to think that the future of English language speculative fiction is in India and amongst English speakers in China and Russia. I'd be surprised if this is an original observation. Can anyone here point me in the direction of someone who's written or studied this issue?

Thanks,

Kevin N. Haw
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Don Mead
Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2007 - 06:07 am:   

In terms of business, it's a quite valid obersvation, Kevin. I work for a car manufacturer, and Russia is one of our fastest growing markets as is the Middle East.

(please no jokes about exploding cars)
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Kevin N. Haw
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 04:42 pm:   

Hmmph. No answers for the original question, then? I'll just go back to finishing up "River of Gods" then...
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Radu Eugen Romaniuc
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 01:53 am:   

I don't know about India, but I'm considerably closer to Russia and I am sure it would not make a good market for books. Of any kind.
You see, Russia and my country are in the same boat when it comes to social imbalances. You have very rich people and very poor people, no middle class, and the middle class is the market for books, right?
Here people can't afford books anymore, just like in most eastern european countries. Your average monthly pay-check is 50-150 $, and a book, 10-30.
And people have lost the habit of reading too. Television is cheaper and easier.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 06:57 am:   

Sorry I've been slow to post here, Kevin. F&SF doesn't have much of a presence in India. I know there are fans of English-language SF in India (Vikram Chandra, author of RED EARTH AND POURING RAIN, has spoken of his affection SF, and I used to be on a list-server where Ashok Banker would give periodic reports on the state of SF in India), but trying to reach them isn't terribly cost-effective. Next time I have money to spend on a subscription drive, I'm going to focus on domestic subscribers.

But y'know, now that you mention it, I've seen SF magazines from thirty or forty different countries (and we have editions of F&SF in half a dozen now) but I don't recall ever seeing one from India.
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 07:19 am:   

Sounds like there might be an article in that for someone, somewhere, magazines in other countries.

Do the Indian online bookshops sell ebooks? Hadn't looked at them for a while.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 06:24 am:   

Unfortunately, India never had a magazine devoted solely to SF, to the best of my knowledge. The longest running Indian magazine that regularly published SF was "Science Today" - a monthly magazine devoted to science writing. The magazine started publishing in 1966. It published one SF story every issue. Later, the magazine changed its name to "2001" but could not go beyond 1991.

Recently, Vandana Singh was trying to edit an anthology of Indian SF but it has been a long time since I received any update about it.

Ahmed
http://ahmedakhan.blogspot.com
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, October 05, 2007 - 08:55 pm:   

According to editor Michael Iwoleit, the latest issue of German magazine NOVA has a special section on SF in India:

http://www.nova-sf.de/wp/?p=60

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