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02.12.2016

This editor’s favourite book of all time is an out-of-print oral history of Bombay’s mill district called One Hundred Years, One Hundred Voices. Near-impossible to find over the last few years, we’re celebrating because it will return as an e-book this month, thanks to a new Delhi-based publishing house.

The New Text collective, scheduled to launch next week, will publish “public intellectual non-fiction,” we’re told by team member and famous Delhi beauty Gautam Bhan, a scholar and activist who withdrew his own book from Oxford University Press over OUP’s role in the infamous photocopying case. (The copyright of his In The Public’s Interest, published this year by Orient Blackswan, now reverts to Gautam in four years’ time, allowing him to make it as freely available as he wishes.)

New Text’s collective wants to publish new books and “come-backs” - previously published work-- that will be open-access that allows them to be widely read and shared. Their economic model draws inspiration from the “street performers’ protocol,” which assumes that the art will be paid for by enough people in a large audience to make it viable.

New Text’s collective wants to publish new books and “come-backs” - previously published work-- that will be open-access that allows them to be widely read and shared.

In addition to these, Gautam says, New Text will float two other imprints. There will be “Folios,” a mix of print and electronic books that will function as the press’ experimental mode: anything from short essays to mixed media to electronic pamphlets will go in here. “Anything you can put into a PDF, we are interested in,” he says.

Their other innovation is New Text Readers, “pedagogical anthologies” that help students to start thinking about copy-left and open-access modes of production.

New Text’s initial first-hand titles, which will make their debut at the launch party, are Akhil Katyal’s The Doubleness of Sexuality: Idioms of Same-Sex Desire in Modern India and Akshay Khanna’s Sexualness: Law, Epidemiology and the Queer Movement in India. The comebacks include the legendary Contemporary India by Satish Deshpande, and Meena Menon and Neera Adarkar’s One Hundred Years. Thanks, New Text: we know what we’re giving everyone for Christmas now.

Getting there: Check the New Text Facebook page for updates; the launch will be at Goethe Institut-Max Mueller Bhavan, KG Marg, Delhi, on December 10 at 7 pm. 

The New Text collective includes Aarti Sethi, Aditya Nigam, Gautam Bhan, Lawrence Liang, Nivedita Menon, Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Sunalini Kumar. 

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