Despite the marketing challenge, the culture of book writing is picking momentum among the Bhutanese over the years. The local book market is seeing many Bhutanese-authored books. The Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority recorded more than 900 books being published between 2006 and March this year.
Of the total books published to date, over 500 were in English and around 400 in Dzongkha. The books were written in various genres including novels, fiction, poem and children’s book.
But not all of the genres are sold well in the market as the majority of Bhutanese readers prefer foreign-authored books. Only a handful prefer reading books written by local authors.
The bookstores in the capital say when it comes to the sale of Bhutanese-authored books, they sell mostly children’s books and romance compared to other genres.
“We have been able to sell children’s books better. When it comes to Bhutanese-authored books, romance books are sold well. However, compared to books written by foreign authors, ours are not sold that well. That’s because the contents are less and the price is high,” said Kiran Bistra, the Sales Executive of Trinkets and Book World in Thimphu.
“I prefer Bhutanese books over foreign books because, Bhutanese books, I find quite easy to read and understand. And it is kind of relatable to our life and it gives us a lesson that is important in our life,” said Jinlab Wangmo, a student of Lungtenzampa MSS.
“I prefer reading foreign books over those written by Bhutanese authors because foreign books cover genres that I am interested in. As you can see, Bhutanese books, don’t cover genres like romance or high fantasy or comedies. And many youths prefer to read dramatic books. Books with drama,” said Geley Yangzom, another student of Lungtenzampa MSS.
Tempa Tshering, an author, says more Bhutanese venturing into writing is encouraging adding that it only reflects the growing trend of reading habits among Bhutanese. He said this will eventually lead to more Bhutanese opting to take up writing as a career in the long run.
“I am really happy that a lot of young writers are emerging in Bhutan. And from my personal experience, I would say that writing is definitely worth taking up as a career as long as you write a good book that offers enough value to the readers, a good book that the readers can relate to,” said Tempa Tshering, an Author.
Currently, there are approximately 500 Bhutanese authors who have published their books. This is excluding bloggers and content creators who mostly post their content on social media platforms.
Sonam Yuden & Singye Dema
Edited by Phub Gyem