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City publishing house coming out with Bengali e-books

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016,12:44 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Kolkata | To keep pace with the changing modes used by modern readers and to reach out to those in far flung areas, city-based Mitra & Ghosh Publishers Private Limited is all set to make available Bengali e-books and offer audio book services. To this end, the 80-year-old publishing house of the city has entered into a tie-up with IIT Kharagpur and Society for Natural Language Technology Research (SNLTR), director of the publishing house Indrani Roy told.

Mitra & Ghosh Publishers Private Limited was the first to print Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s ‘Pather Panchali’ immortalised in the film by the same name by Satyajit Ray, Ashapoorna Devi’s ‘Subarnalata’ and ‘Pratham Pratisruti’ and Rabindra Rachanabali, a collection of the literary works of Tagore. Soon, these literary gems will be available in the form of e-books, Braille books and audio books, Roy said, adding that these would be ready by September-October.

In a collaboration SNLTR and Mitra & Ghosh will make use of technology provided by IIT Kharagpur Computer Science department to digitise some classics of Bengali literature, she said. The e-books will be made in such a manner that they can be downloaded from the website. As for the audio-books, the publisher’s website would have five stories mainly to woo children and school students, Roy said.

The publishing house is also planning to bring out the rich treasure trove of Bengali classics in braille. There are not many classics in braille script. We are planning to have Bengali classics in that script to help people who are blind or have low vision, Roy elaborated. It also has plans to go to different schools in the districts as well as to the remotest rural areas with the audio-books and provide students there the opportunity to listen to them so that the classic Bengali literary works reach them, she said.

Initially, this would be done on voluntary basis but there are plans to approach the state government education department so as to reach the masses in the rural areas, she said. The publisher’s website would also provide the option to purchase books using gift coupons. These coupons worth upto Rs 10,000 can be used to gift books to the children in the slum areas. We will take the order for the books and deliver them to the place the purchaser wants to, she said.

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