Quit his job in U.S to publish e-books so that the children of Tamil origin can read Tamil
Across the U.S.’ east coast, in parts of west coast and in Canada, children of Tamil origin are learning Tamil the easy way. They access mobile computing devices, download e-books to learn Tamil and also know Tamil culture and heritage, thanks to Thirumurthi Ranganathan.
The 40-year-old Vettavalam (Tiruvannamalai district) native quit his job to take up e-publishing to help the children learn Tamil. “This was about a year-and-a-half ago when I was earning a six-figure salary in the U.S.,” he says on the sidelines of the ‘Thayagam Kadantha Tamil’ conference in Coimbatore on Tuesday.The bibliophile says he took to e-publishing for a variety of reasons. “The first is personal, though, as I was not getting the Tamil books I wanted in the U.S. and even if I was getting them, it was exorbitant – most often the transport cost exceeding the books’, and I had no space in my home to accommodate more books.”
He says he’s a regular at the Chennai Book Fair buying books worth at least Rs. 20,000 every season.
But then there was the issue of making things easier for the children of Tamil origin to read Tamil. He decided to publish e-books to teach the children as he often found them fiddling with gadgets – smart phones, tablets and e-book readers.It started on an experimental basis to teach Tamil to children in a Toronto school. “The e-book was used a tool as it had audio and video, both of which attracted children,” he says and adds that the success led to his sharing the e-book with 10 more schools. Most of the e-books were stories for children and what the American Tamil Academy wanted. Thus far he had published 10 books, a few of which were also Tamil literary works. In 2014 he had planned to e-publish 100 books and works were on at various stages.
He was in talks with a few publishers.. “They initially mistook me as a competitor because of their misconception about e-publishing. After understanding they came forward but took a step back again asking what if the books were hacked and downloaded free of cost?”
He said that he had reasoned with them that nobody would spend time on illegally accessing and also downloading e-books as the price put on them in the application ecosystem was not worth it.Mr. Thirumurthi says his e-books will be available across mobile platforms .He’s also collaborating with Vaidehi Herbert, who has translated Sangam poems into English, to bring in Sangam literature to e-books.
Such works are for the Tamil speakers in various countries who desire easy access to Tamil literature. And also for those who are ignorant of the Tamil culture and heritage, he says.