A free literary app Pratilipi for new writers in India has expanded its content creation and consumption in 12 regional languages — hosting two lakh new stories per month. Co-founder, Ranjeet Singh wants to, “foster home grown talent and for many of our writers they joined the platform having never published anything before”. Here, Singh gives a lowdown on Pratilipi along with his future plans.
Please elaborate on the ‘rich ecosystem’ Pratilipi app provides for emerging voices in the Indian literary landscape?
Pratilipi has grown from being a reading writing platform to an ecosystem with a literature community at its heart. The app functions like an ‘open mic’ for writers and provides a popular and safe space to upload stories for any user. Writers with Pratilipi publish over 250,000 stories on the platform every month, thus building a strong bond with the 25 million active readers who read these stories over 250 million times every month. Readers and writers communicate via over 2 million reviews and comments, and privately via over 10 million private messages every month. Writers are able to hone their skills and build an audience. We also hope to support writers to make a truly viable career out of their passion for writing by securing licensing deals and the best stories adopted to various other formats including published books, comics, audiobooks and even web series.
How do Pratilipi FM and Pratilipi Comics help your objective?
Pratilipi’s vision is to democratise storytelling across languages, devices and formats. Both Pratilipi FM and Pratilipi Comics unlock two different formats for people to share their stories with each other. Pratilipi FM has podcasts, audio shows and audio books, listened by over 300,000 listeners every month. Pratilipi Comics has a rich resource, ranging from old classics such as Chacha Chaudhury as well as contemporary comics, including those licensed from our best ranking authors. Currently, over 600,000 readers read the comics every month.
What led you to launch Pratilipi?
I grew up in a small town close to Rae Bareli, where English was not the first language. I was always a voracious reader and grew up on a diet of comics, classical and contemporary Hindi literature. Once I left the Hindi heartland to go to university, I realised that Hindi literature was not as easy to come by. I did shift to reading in English, but this brought up an important question for me – why should reading in a language of your choice be this hard? We are a country of multiple languages and dialects, so surely people should be able to access content and enjoy reading in a language of their choice. These musings, which I shared endlessly with close friends, were the seeds that eventually led to the conception of Pratilipi.
What are your plans in terms of growing more readers?
We are continuing to focus on taking an ecosystem approach by expanding into various formats, both on our own and via partnerships with other players in the industry, and on building the best products which have high users and subsequently, word-of-mouth adoption.