Today, Ryan Holmberg is back with a longer look at the comics rental libraries of Mumbai:
Upon publishing the interview with Leaping Windows Comics Café, I was informed by an elder Indian that rental bookstores – locally called “circulating libraries” – are not uncommon in Mumbai. There used to be more, I was told, but there are still some out in the suburbs, though they deal mainly in books in Hindi and Marathi (the local language) rather than in English.
Online searching turned up more than a dozen scattered across Greater Mumbai, some of which are actually in the heart of the city, near railway stations and major intersections. These latter seem to be mainly older businesses, hanging on since the 1950s and 60s. I am also told that, out in the suburbs, a number of “paper marts” – paper recycling shops – have begun doubling as lending libraries, redirecting not only junk books and magazines that come their way, but also cartons of cheap remainder books. I have heard – though I haven’t seen them – that there are book vans that show up in certain neighborhoods once every three days or so, with blinking LED lights and megaphones tootling jingles.
All of which is to say: borrowing books for a fee, beyond the familiar institutions of private and municipal libraries, is neither a new nor rare thing in Mumbai.
Retailer/columnist Brian Hibbs has written an editorial on the disquiet he and many felt upon hearing about the Fantagraphics Kickstarter that quickly gets derailed into a rehearsal of an old Hibbs hobbyhorse regarding serialization vs. books. Matt Wilson at Comics Alliance wonders if the fundraiser was the start of a new trend and wonders if it’s workable.
The Autoptic festival in Minneapolis is having a crowdfundraiser of its own.
—Reviews & Criticism. Robert Boyd reviews Jim Woodring, Gilbert Hernandez, and minicomics. Whit Taylor on Noah Van Sciver’s Saint Cole. Bilge Ebiri is disappointed by the new Bill Watterson documentary. Mary Kinney writes about the bewilderingly popular Homestuck. Erik Davis has a short & sharp appreciation of Alan Moore up at Hilobrow. Holland Cotter at the New York Times reviews the Art Spiegelman Co-Mix show at the Jewish Museum and calls for more museum comics exhibitions. (If you’re in the New York area, I strongly recommend attending that show.)
—Interviews. David Samuels has a long, very good interview with Art Spiegelman at Tablet. The Atlantic talks to Alison Bechdel about her reaction to the Fun Home musical. Tom Spurgeon talks to Gene Luen Yang. The Allie Brosh/Hyperbole and a Half media juggernaught makes it The Hairpin