Translation into English of Hindi and Tamil paperbacks creates new fans for the genre

Hindi and Tamil paperbacks are being translated into English and this is creating new fans for the genre among middle- and upper-class Indians.

The Tamil pulp fiction anthologies are also being marketed in the United States along with other Indian crime and romance novels, often in counterculture stores or on Web sites such as Amazon, according to publishers, who added that their popularity is part of the growing American interest in all things Indian.

The Indian publishing market has grown by 60 percent in the past five years and is estimated to be worth more than $2.9 billion, experts say.

The success of English-language publishing reflects the prosperity of the domestic industry as a whole. Books are relatively inexpensive to produce in India, where labor costs are low and cheap recycled paper is widely used. And while many U.S. bookstores are losing business to online or digital alternatives, the Internet has reached only a small percentage of Indian homes. The result has been a new Indian book culture, far broader than the staid math and science textbooks, epic family novels and religious mythology that used to sustain the industry.

Many publishers expect the industry to keep growing, arguing that the recently passed Right to Education Act will put more children in schools and boost literacy, said Anand Bhushan, president of the Federation of Indian Publishers.