“Have you stopped publishing books?” This is a question I am often asked these days. The declining output of the printed word is apparent in these pandemic times. However, the reasons why are not as apparent.

For almost 14 years, Goa,1556 has focused on publishing Goan writing. Ours is a small, niche venture, named after the accidental arrival of the first printing press in Asia, in Goa, some 464 years ago. It was a product of years of frustration and yearning, considering how difficult it was to get a truly “Goan book” published.

This year, we have had to tackle new, unexpected challenges. Blame it on the pandemic alone? No, I wouldn’t. These challenges faced by the small independents in India have been coming for some time now. The year 2020 might have been a watershed one for tiny players in publishing – but not necessarily in a bad way.

The challenges in Goa

Unlike Kerala, Goa doesn’t have sustained reading and publishing movements. Nor have readership campaigns and author cooperatives been established over the decades. Ahandful of home-grown publishers has cropped up here thanks to the prior-mentioned publishing courses held by the National Book Trust in 2005 and 2012.

Unlike Maharashtra, Goa doesn’t have a string of libraries...

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