The pandemic hit businesses across the globe. The bookstores in Bengaluru stood out as an exception.
Bengaluru: Book stores in Bengaluru have reported a hike in their sales during the lockdown, unlike the other businesses. After the unlock phase was implemented, they witnessed an even greater footfall in their shops as compared to pre-COVID times. The book stores say that they earlier used to sell 60 to 80 books in a day but now they sell over 100 books a day.
“We have seen a hike of 20-25 percent from pre- COVID. In fact whatever losses we faced initially, 80 percent of it was recovered pretty soon. Now the business is going well,” said MS Gowda, Blossom Bookstore owner. He said that the business picked up the pace in less than two months after battling the initial financial hit. He acknowledged the fact that he along with other bookshop owners were fortunate enough to recover from the losses quickly.
The bookshops also reported a pattern in their sales. They said that fictional and philosophical books have been selling out the most. “Even the sales of children’s book have peaked,” MS Gowda added. Even when the shops were closed during the lockdown, the readers used to request the bookshop owners online to deliver their desired book. “Social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook were of huge help since many of our customers resorted to buying books online through those mediums,” said Gangaram book store manager, Satish Kumar. The stores said that it is the general appreciation that people have for books that has helped them survive the lockdown.
“Due to the pandemic, I resorted to buying books from this store online as it was very difficult especially for avid book readers. Now that the shop has opened I am coming here regularly,” said Rithika R., an avid reader and a regular customer of Blossom Bookstore. She further appreciated the bookstore stating that the owner made it a point to deliver books to her every time she requested.
The publishing houses too had to bear the brunt of financial crisis initially. But when the stores picked up the sales, these publishing houses became optimistic about recovering from the losses soon since they were the distributers too. These publishing houses along with the stores credit their hike in income to the avid readers who bought books regularly despite the lockdown. Jaico Publishing house owner, N Srinivasa said, “The financial situation was scary for our business but because people were locked in their houses due to the pandemic, they resorted to reading books more often. Apart from the regular customers, there was this new set of customers who started ordering books on social media platforms. This mapped out well for distributers like us.”
The bookstores turned out to be an exception during the time when other businesses had to face a drastic hit. The bookstores in the city are now looking at more foot fall in their shops as their businesses continue to grow at a steady pace post lockdown.