3 years

Open Minds 2016: Soft Power

Chiki Sarkar: Pageless Wonder

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She is determined to democratise reading and to put it into the hands of millions

Books can be stodgy and readers can be stuffed shirts. But publisher Chiki Sarkar will have none of that superciliousness. She is determined to democratise reading, to remove it from the exalted shelves of libraries and put it into the hands of millions. Her new publishing venture Juggernaut is poised to do just that. It will take stories off the page and place them on your phone screens for a fee every day. Sarkar, who has held the top jobs in publishing, has always been ahead of the crowd. Instead of spurring popular reads, she has embraced them, aware that they are money-spinners. She has never been dismissive of the economics of publishing and is clear that the smartest publishers are those who make money for their companies and their authors. It is no surprise then that she and her co-founder Durga Raghunath launched the Juggernaut app with a collection of erotic stories by actress Sunny Leone. In one fell sweep, Sarkar has united the worlds of publishing and technology. Most importantly, she has acknowledged that reading habits have changed and that we want stories at the press of a button and not only at the turn of a page. She realises that reading books is no longer just a personal experience, but an interactive one, where authors are not only writers but also trendsetters.

How we read books on the phone and what we read and what we might want from that experience are the questions Juggernaut is trying to answer. We believe reading should be a seamless experience—so smooth that it feels completely natural to move to reading on the app, that it should allow you to do some of the stuff you now expect to do on the phone—share quotes with friends, interact with authors, send a book you like to someone effortlessly.” 

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