Monday, October 03, 2011

Best-sellers Indians love to read 

Indians are fond of popular fiction which used to include potboilers like Harold Robbins and Irving Wallace. If you ask the average reader in India what books he or she has read or enjoys reading, you're most likely to hear a list that’s as predictable as can be.

Jeffrey Archer is a particular favourite and gets a rousing welcome every time he comes to India where his books are sold in no time.

On his last trip in March 2010, the British author visited a bookstore in Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, to release his latest five-book series Only Time Will Tell and was moved by the large crowd waiting for him. "I am often asked why I keep returning to India. This is the answer," he smiled. By the time Archer left, the bookstore had sold nearly 1,500 copies. His publisher, I’m sure, was ecstatic. 

The chief reason why best-selling fiction flies off the shelves in Indian bookstores is because they are easy to read and quick to finish, which makes sense, for the urban reader spends more time commuting, be it day or night, and has little time for such luxuries as sitting down in a quiet place and reading a good book. The last thing he or she needs is a “heavy book” and a headache. 

So what would a predictable list of, say, Top 12 best-selling authors and their most popular novels in India read like? Here it is...

01. Jack Higgins: The Eagle Has Landed, The Savage Day and The Last Place God Made

02. Sidney Sheldon: The Other Side of Midnight, Bloodline and Rage of Angels 

03. Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Trilogy

04. Jeffrey Archer: Kane and Abel and everything else by him

05. Alistair MacLean: The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra, Where Eagles Dare and Force 10 From Navarone

06. Robin Cook: Coma, Fever and Outbreak

07. Arthur Hailey: Airport, Wheels and Hotel

08. Mario Puzo: The Godfather and The Sicilian

09. Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War and The Fourth Protocol

10. Ken Follett: Eye of the Needle and The Key of Rebecca

11. John Grisham: The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief, The Client and The Chamber

12. Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons

I've read a few books by all twelve authors but my favourite thriller writer from the list is Jack Higgins.

Jeffrey Archer photo:


  1. All these names are familiar to me by reputation, but I've read very few of them. I really like the two Mario Puzo books I've read -- THE GODFATHER and THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM. Alister MacLean has been on my TBR pile for a while... I need to start keeping my eye out for some of these authors when I make the rounds of used bookstores.

  2. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Cullen. I used to read these novels in college and I still read them occasionally. Each of these authors, and a few others i didn't mention, brought a unique style and substance to the paperback. So many of them were made into successful movies. I am currently reading a little-known book by Higgins called THE IRON TIGER (1966) and enjoying it.

  3. this is a very interesting

  4. Thanks for the positive feedback, Mel. You got a great blog at The Reading Life.