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Author Plans To Release Controversial Book As E-Book After Publisher Withdraws It


After Bloomsbury Publishing withdrew Jitender Bhargava‘s book “The Descent of Air India’, which detailed the fall of India’s national airline, following a case filed by former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, the author has said that he plans to release the book in an e-book format, apart from releasing the book via a new publisher, reports MoneyLife. Bloomsbury Publishing had apologised to the minister in a newspaper, who had apparently alleged that certain statements in the book were defamatory. The author, who is a former Air India executive, has said that the publisher had not consulted him before withdrawing the book, and he will release it again with a new publisher. He mentioned that in court on January 6th, he had told the judge that he has evidence to back up statements made in his book.

the-descent-of-air-indiaWhat’s interesting here is that the rights are with the author, as he has clarified on Twitter:

 

A few of things to note here:
1. The author appears to kept the rights for the book, giving himself the option of choosing another publisher, and/or publishing it as an ebook. This is possibly a sign of things to come
2. As such, the book doesn’t appear to have been banned, but even if banned from publishing, the Internet appears to have emerged as a means of releasing the book independent of jurisdiction, regional restrictions, and perhaps even court restrictions. Even if the court asks him to remove the book from the Internet once published, copies can be distributed.
3. For Patel, the book being removed is probably going bring more bad press, visibility and embarrassment than the book itself. The Streisand Effect, it is called.

In a sense, the Internet gives authors and creators freedom from intermediaries: they can self-publish content, speak freely to an audience via social networks instead of through a medium (the press), and promote content through social media. This disintermediation of aggregators isn’t yet being exploited well enough, but with time, more authors and musicians will look to connect directly with their audience.

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The full text of Bhargava’s statement on Facebook:

“The Descent of Air India – An Update

After the book, ‘The Descent of Air India’ was formally released on October 11, 2013 in Delhi, attempts were made by Praful Patel to obstruct its distribution. Besides ensuring that the books were not sold at airport book stores (he still appears to wield clout with airport operators); had TV channels to drop scheduled programmes relating to the book – in the case of one news channel even after the interview had been recorded; he served a legal notice, alleging that the book contents were defamatory.
He filed a case in the court of the metropolitan magistrate, Mumbai. While I told the judge on January 6, 2014, that everything stated in the book about Praful Patel is true, backed by documented evidence and will be duly justified and contested in the honourable court, the publishers, Bloomsbury, on whom also the notice was served, decided on not pursuing it, and instead agreeing to offer an apology to Praful Patel.

This decision of Bloomsbury was unilateral, and without discussing with me, as an author. Their stand thus naturally came to me as a surprise. And it may surprise you too when you see the apology of Bloomsbury published in the newspapers.

As everything stated in the book is true, based on documents, I will have the book, ‘The Descent of Air India’ reprinted either on my own or through a new publisher. Simultaneous action is being initiated to bring out ‘ The Descent of Air India’, as an ebook. I am told this can take up to four-five weeks.
Please bear the absence of the book from the book stores for a few weeks. I will be back soon because neither can I be bulldozed into submission nor can facts be allowed to be suppressed. In today’s environment, corrupt practices of all people, howsoever powerful, must be exposed.

I look forward to your understanding of the situation and support.”

According to Mr Bhargava, after the book, ‘The Descent of Air India’ was formally released on 11 October 2013 in Delhi attempts were made by Praful Patel to obstruct itsdistribution. “Besides ensuring that the books were not sold at airport book stores (he still appears to wield clout with airport operators) had TV channels to drop scheduled programmes relating to the book – in the case of one news channel even after the interview had been recorded; he served a legal notice, alleging that the book contents were defamatory,” says Mr Bhagava.

“He (Patel) filed a case in the court of the metropolitan magistrate, Mumbai. While I told the judge on 6 January 2014 that everything stated in the book about Praful Patel is true, backed by documented evidence and will be duly justified and contested in the honourable court, the publishers, Bloomsbury, on whom also the notice was served, decided on not pursuing it, and instead agreeing to offer an apology to Praful Patel,” Mr Bhargava said.