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Wisdom Titles for the Indian Market
December 30, 2022
The current President of the Pariyatti Board of Directors, Nishant Choudhary, learned at the start of 2019 that the Western Theravadā monk Bhikkhu Bodhi would travel to Hyderabad, India, mid-January. The Venerable would officiate at a ceremony held to enshrine the relics of the Buddha at the Mahabodhi Buddha Vihara. To see if there was a possibility to meet with the Venerable, Nishant decided to go to the monastery and ask around. He was guided to the organizers and was able to make an offering to the Sangha on behalf of Pariyatti. Once the Sangha Danā—which was a public event—was over, he also had the opportunity to meet in private with Ven. Bodhi.
In that meeting Nishant raised the Pariyatti's wish to make Bhikkhu Bodhi's Wisdom Publication titles available in India, the Buddha's land. As Pariyatti serves meditators and seekers worldwide, and has various staff and Board members located in India, we were quite aware that most people in India cannot afford $75 or $85 for a book—and some of the wonderful hardcovers in The Teachings of the Buddha series cost this much.
Nishant requested permission for Pariyatti to make these titles available for the Indian market (at high quality and low cost) and Bikkhu Bodhi agreed whole-heartedly. It was something the Venerable had wanted to do as well, but that never eventuated. For whatever reason the gears had turned very slowly.
Interesting to note is that with no guidance or prior knowledge, Nishant had chosen to offer The Birth of Insight to Bhikkhu Bodhi. As it turned out the Venerable had wanted to read this title and that he was delighted to receive it. Nishant: "I was truly an instrument of Dhamma in that meeting."
After the meeting Bhikkhu Bodhi promised to write the CEO of Wisdom Publications, so they could get in touch with us at Pariyatti. During the first half of 2022 Pariyatti checked in again with the Venerable as we hadn't been contacted yet by Wisdom. This time the gears started turning properly and by the end of October the three softcovers from the series were available in India.
The first print run for each title is 1,000 copies. Now that the three softcovers are available, the five hardcovers of the series will follow, one at a time. We wanted to start off with the softcovers, as there is much more involved with printing hardcovers. This gave us the opportunity to commence immediately and get acquainted with the process—and with our partners for the project—at a good pace.
The books are printed by Thomson Press, the best printer in India (fun fact: Thomson Press also printed the Penguin Random House books from the Obamas); Embassy Books takes care of the distribution.
Printing hardcovers is a longer, more elaborate process. The hardcovers we will be publishing have a foil-stamped cloth binding, as well as a dust jacket. For such a cover, the foil stamp artwork needs to be designed first. A print technician will then make it into a stamp or 'die', an etched metal plate (from magnesium, brass or copper), embossed with a mirror image of the artwork. To print the cover, the die is pressed through a sheet of colored foil, leaving behind an impression of the artwork.
While editing this newsleter we learned that the first hardcover is off the press as well! Readers in India: stay tuned for the link to get your hands on a copy of The Long Discourses of the Buddha (India ED.)
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