The lure of huge discounts and the thrill of buying books as soon as they are launched from the comfort of your home may have propelled you to junk your favourite bookstore for the last few years but Kolkata’s booksellers say that the crowds are flocking back to the stores: leafing through the latest titles and inquiring about that rare tome which only an expert bookseller can procure.
Reason: With book buying sites shifting focus of their business to items like electronics, apparel, and so on, online book buyers seem to have gone back to the stores, sending people in the book business laughing to the bank.
For Starmark — which runs a chain of four bookstores in the city — records say that book sales have gone up by 15 per cent over the last one year.
“Amitav Ghosh’s latest book, Flood of fire did very well at our stores despite online offers. Amish Tripathi’s The Secret of the Nagas sold in large numbers at our bookstores though you can buy at half the MRP online,” Gautam Jatia, CEO of Starmark, told Millennium Post.
Publishers like Rupa & Co say that online sales pick up when there is a big book launch but booklovers still love to shop at the stores on College Street.
“Publishers like us tie up with online bookstores run by amazon and flipcart — sometimes via distributors — but the bookshops on College Street also offer good discounts. At our College Street store, we offer only 10 per cent discount but the young college going crowd drops by to browse and buy,” said Raju Burman, Proprietor of Rupa & Co. Rupa’s latest title, My Gita penned by Devdutt Pattanaik is available at 30 per cent discount on amazon but is doing very well at bookstores, says Burman.
Agrees Sudhangshu Dey of Dey’s Publishing, one of the largest publishers of Bengali books on College Street, “We have also seen a surge of book buying from our shelves of late. Titles like Buddhadev Guha’s Jangal Mahal as well as Rituparno Ghosh’s First Person is doing extremely well at our store on College Street. We have logged at least a 10 per cent surge in sales in the last year.”