Meet the new best-selling author of India — Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal’s book ‘Swaraj’ has been selling like hot cakes in the city ever since he formed the Delhi government on December 28, 2013. The total copies of the books sold stand at 1.5 lakh — a figure that puts it in country’s list of bestsellers. A book selling 10,000 copies is qualified as a bestseller.
The best pointer towards a book’s popularity is when it starts being sold from pavements and by roadside hawkers. The pavement bookstalls that line the inner circle of Connaught Place display it prominently. “We get a lot queries about the book and it is selling a lot off late. As it is quite affordable at Rs. 150, customers don’t think much before buying it,” said Vikas Kumar, a pavement bookseller.
At the famous Sunday book market at Daryaganj, Swaraj is displayed in the dozens, vying for space with popular writers such as Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi apart from used books that the market is known for. The book is sold for Rs. 100 here and the usually bargain friendly sellers don’t budge when asked for a discount.
“Almost every person asks about the book but we don’t sell it for anything less than Rs. 100. The demand for the book has spiralled in the last few months and we let customers looking for discounts go as there is no dearth of buyers for this book,” said Javed, who has been selling used books for years.
A store manager at the Oxford bookstore in Connaught Place said the number of queries for Swaraj has certainly gone up but refused to divulge the figure of exact increase in sales.
“We published the book on September 27, 2012 and for a year the sale was good. In the last six months, however, we have seen a huge increase in demand,” said Sameer Mahale, National Sales Manager at HarperCollins Publishers. “In the first year, we had sold 25,000 English versions and 40,000 Hindi versions of the book. In the last six months we have sold 30,000 of the English and 60,000 Hindi versions, taking the total number to more than 1.5 lakh,” Mahale said.
He said while the demand initially was from Delhi and north India, orders are now being placed from west and south India too.
Mahale said Kejriwal didn’t take any royalty for the book as he wanted it to be affordable. The book, however, had run into controversy after Noida based author Ajay Pal Nagar filed a court case of plagiarism against Kejriwal.