Several authors like the celebrated Dan Brown, US-based Jhumpa Lahiri and Pakistani writers Reza Aslan and Moni Mohsin visited during the year which also saw the release of a number of books that sought to target the highest echelons of power - Sanjaya Baru's "The Accidental Prime Minister", P C Parakh's "Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and other Truths" and Natwar Singh's "Yours Sincerely".

Besides numerous autobiographies and biographies including ones by Sachin Tendulkar and Naseeruddin Shah, the year saw publishers coming out with books on business, commercial and mass market fiction, literary fiction, self help, chik-lit and culinary. There were a number of works by new and little-known authors.

In February, Penguin Books India was forced to recall and destroy all copies of US Indologist Wendy Doniger's "The Hindus: An Alternative History" after an organisation called Shiksha Bachao Andolan Committee claimed that the book, which focuses on different aspects of Hinduism, has lot of "inaccuracies and biases" and was full of various sexual connotations and should be withdrawn.

Though the publishers said it had an obligation to respect laws even if they were "intolerant and restrictive" and a moral responsibility to protect its "employees against threats and harassment", Doniger was quite vocal in her reaction.     

"I was, of course, angry and disappointed to see this happen, and I am deeply troubled by what it foretells for free speech in India in the present, and steadily worsening, political climate," was her response.

She said the publishers were defeated by the "true villain of this piece - the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offence to publish a book that offends any Hindu, a law that jeopardises the physical safety of any publisher, no matter how ludicrous the accusation brought against a book".

This development came a month after Bloomsbury had to withdraw all copies of "The Descent of Air India" by former executive director of the airline Jitendra Bhargava in which he blames ex-Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel for the near grounding of the national carrier.

A book on Abu Salem was also in the news with the mobster moving a court seeking withdrawal of "My name is Abu Salem" by S Hussain Zaidi that documents his flamboyant life.

A number of literary festivals were held during the year, prominent among them were the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), Mumbai International Literary festival, Bangalore Literature Festival, Kochi International Book festival and Kolkata Literary festival.

Apart for the controversies, the year was mostly good for publishers. V K Karthika, chief editor and publisher of HarperCollins India, said, "2014 was an exciting year when we launched our children's imprint Harper Kids, we focused on publishing very different categories including politics, cinema and our spirituality imprint - Harper Element. Several books won awards across genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry."

Adds managing editor Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, "2014 was very good. We had a bestseller – 'Dark Star', a book on Rajesh Khanna by Gautam Chintamani which sold over 5,000 copies in two months. Joy Goswami was selected as the Poet Laureate of India by Tata Lit for Life. We published his collection of poetry this year."

According to Rajdeep Mukherjee, Senior Vice president at Pan Macmillan India, 2014 gave the publishing house a "success a month with books such as 'Cell' by Robin Cook,'The Finisher’ by David Baldacci and 'Fangirl' (YA category) by Rainbow Rowell going into quick reprints in the month of the publication".

Jeffrey Archer's "Be Careful What You Wish For" saw Pan crossing previous sales records in the year of its publication for the other Archer titles in "The Clifton Chronicle" series. "While Para-Olympian Oscar Pistorius' story 'Behind the Door' was one of the most controversial and topical books to be brought out, some of the titles to rise up quickly on the bestseller's lists were Oprah Winfrey's 'What I Know For Sure', Ken Follet's Edge of Eternity' and Aroon Raman's 'Treasure of Kafur'," Mukherjee says.
"Zia Haider Rahman's first book 'In the Light of What We Know' received a brilliant sales and media response for any first time writer and the year is ending on a high note with Aatish Taseer's biggest release in 'The Way Things Were'," he says.

Hachette India says the year was spectacular but one that nevertheless reminded it that silver linings notwithstanding the dark cloud that shrouds the trade publishing environment has not quite gone away.

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