Click for Tamil books

Kaanthalakam, a Chennai-based publishing house, reaches Tamil books to readers across the globe through its website

That there is a large Tamil reading population in the U.S. and Canada may not come as a surprise. But in South Africa and Australia? "It's true. We know because we send Tamil books to people in 40 countries across the globe," says N. Sasirekha of Kaanthalakam, a Chennai-based publishing house. And that has been possible through the website, > the aim of making available as many Tamil titles as possible under one roof, the company developed the website nearly five years ago. The brainchild of K. Satchitanandan, the website lists over 36,000 Tamil titles brought out by over 2,000 publishers across Tamil Nadu. Broadly divided into 83 topics such as cookery, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, computers and fiction, the site is interactive and easy to browse. The home page has an effective search engine to facilitate answering of your query in a quick manner. Like any other website, here too one can do a subject-wise, title-wise or author-wise search. And yes, if your computer does not have Tamil fonts, you can even download them through the site. Once you have made a selection, you can e-mail your list to the site and your order will be processed subject to availability of the titles. "As for payment, it is now through DD or MO. But we are planning to introduce the credit card facility to make it easier for our customers," says Sasirekha, who is involved with the maintenance of the site. While the most number of customers who shop through the site are from the U.S., in terms of volume of business, it's Canada. "The hit rate is about 1,000 people a day." The most visited page is Tamilology, which catalogues Tamil related books in English, such as the English translation of the Tirukkural or the Tiruvasagam. Besides, one can select from a list of CDs. Future plans include introducing e-books ("A few pages initially and finally the whole book," says Sasirekha), going in for Unicode to make downloads easy and providing a little bit of information about each book. "We hope to make > a one-stop shop for Tamil books," says Sasirekha.SAVITHA GAUTAM

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