| A bookstore at Panbazar. Picture by UB Photos |
Feb. 22: The city is expanding and big stores selling different products are sprouting across the place. However, surprisingly bookstores have not increased in the same manner. Blame it on the lack of buyers and the increasingly popular online shopping stores through which many readers now choose to buy books online, rather than buying it from the stores directly.
The long row of bookstores at Panbazar is still the place where people go to buy books.
Majority of the bookstores in this area are decades old and have been catering to the requirements of all sections of readers for several years now.
A few new bookstores have come up in recent years.
“Well people definitely used to read more during earlier days as compared to these days. But we still come across ardent readers who love to drop buy at different bookstores, flipping through pages of different books by varied authors. However, these days many people want to read a specific book by a particular writer and therefore, prefer buying it online from different bookstores. Getting it at a cheaper rate than the actual market price and saving time as the books are delivered to them is another reason they choose to buy online. This obviously affects the local book business to some extent,” S. Kumar, owner of the Modern Book Depot, one of the oldest bookstores in the city, said.
“Our family has been in the book business for more than five decades now. We are also opening a new bookstore called “Not Just Books” on GS Road. Fiction and non-fiction books by different writers will be available here along with other stationary items.”
“It is true that people now do not read widely like earlier times. However, we do receive customers, but now youngsters seem to read the work of a few popular writers more than other writers, who may in fact write better than the former. If a book by a particular writer is a hit, then many people come asking for his next book, which may not be as good as the first one,” Gautam Kalita, owner of Books Valley, said.
Another reason for bookstores not opening in other parts of the city is that they cannot stockpile like the stores in Panbazar do.
“There are a few bookstores in different locations of the city, but they are unable to draw lot of customers because they cannot keep stocks of all types of books in huge quantities. People also have this notion that all types of books can be found here, as the area is close to several schools and colleges, and hence, prefer coming here to buy books,” Kalita added.
“It is true that the trend of purchasing books online is affecting the business of bookstores. Most of our customers are students. There are ardent readers no doubt, but youngsters now read less. We mostly keep stock of academic books, though we sell other books too,” Sudip Saraswati, owner of the Books Den at Panbazar, said.