Readers Throng Bookstores Amid Westland Closure

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Published on February 26, 2022 by

The Amazon-owned publishing house will shut down on March 31.

Bengaluru : As one enters Bookworm, a popular bookstore in the city, owner Krishna Gowda’s phone just won’t stop buzzing. While talking to him about the Westland closure, he said that he has been getting orders continuously for their titles not only from India but abroad as well.

On the sharp rise in demand, Gowda said: “In the last 15 days especially, 80 percent of our sales have been from Westland books. We are getting a lot of orders in the non-fiction titles because they have a wide range and a fantastic collection (in this category),”

Price of the Modi Years by Aakar Patel, Whole Numbers and Half Truths by Rukmini S and Despite the State by M Rajshekhar are some of the titles in demand.

Started in 1962, Amazon acquired Westland in 2017 from the Tata group. Some of the high-profile authors at Westland include Chetan Bhagat, Aakar Patel, and Amish Tripathi.

Commenting on some of the books that Westland came out with recently, Jane Borges, a journalist and author of Bombay Balchao and Mafia Queens of Mumbai, said, “They (Westland) have had some of the finest books come out of late in the last few years. They are able to take on people in power or question authority which is what we find is missing in today’s mainstream media.”

Curiously, Amazon did not state a clear reason for closing down Westland. News reports claim heavy losses in the last few years as a possible reason.

Amazon clarified in its statement that older books will not be available from 28th Feb while the newer books will be available till 31st March.

Readers say the fear of several titles being out of print led them to bulk buying.

“When I saw posts (online) by book stores saying 15th Feb is the last day they are placing orders for the very last set of books. The fear that many of these books may not exist is what led me to bulk buying these books,” said Tejas Kinger, a reader.

What’s next for the books that are part of the Westland catalog currently? Aakar Patel, author of Price of the Modi Years said, “Westland says it is trying to find a buyer. If that happens, then perhaps the titles continue. They say they will try till the end of March and will continue selling the books and hold the copyrights till then. If they cannot find a buyer by end-March, I have to find a new publisher. Hopefully, that will be possible but this is new for all of us,”

 

 

 

 

 

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