Buying books online is latest fad, bookstores suffer ‘jolt’

BOOKS

It was a new trend of online retailing of books is gaining popularity among city residents, these days. The conventional system of purchasing books from book stores, earlier the only source, seems to be declining and is facing a tough competition from online websites.

Sample this: A Harry Potter signature collection by JK Rowling is sold for Rs 3,299 at bookstores, but the same is available for Rs 1,979 on www.flipkart.com, at a 40 percent discount.

Ajay Arora, owner of the Capital Book Depot, said, "Due to our showrooms location, we receive a lot of walk-ins. An array and variety of books available at bookstores can never be outshone by online websites. These websites only sell popular books, mainly those authored by Chetan Bhagat and Jeffery Archer, at cheaper rates by offering a discount. But the not-so 'talked about' books will be available at a mere discount, which will not be appealing to customers. Therefore, customers still prefer to visit bookstores for its charm and personal attention delivered by salespersons. Though I will not deny that growth has been threatened, but there has been no significant decline in our sales."

Rajiv Choudhary, owner of English Book Shop, who is of a similar opinion said, "Online book stores are not reliable and accessible to everyone. The younger generation who is tech-savvy might prefer it, but elderly still prefer buying books from bookshops to online sites. People get an opportunity to research in bookstores, a feature not possible on online websites. Apart from this, a mere difference in cost is not a deterrent to steer people away from the charm of bookstores."

Jagdeep Kaur, owner of Browser, shows a different picture. "Our sales have declined over the years. Youngsters who were our main customers now prefer buying books online. But due to additional costs that we incur on rent and salary to our employees, we cannot afford to provide huge discounts to people. But due to lack of accessibility and awareness among people regarding online websites, the decline is not very significant."

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