And how the bookstores survive the e-onslaught...
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And how the bookstores survive the e-onslaught...

Midland, New DelhiMidland — The Book Store that occupies prime space at Hauz Khas market, is part of a chain of four book stores across the National Capital Region and has been in the business for the last 23 years.

books Updated: Jul 31, 2011 01:12 IST
Hindustan Times

Midland, New Delhi
Midland — The Book Store that occupies prime space at Hauz Khas market, is part of a chain of four book stores across the National Capital Region and has been in the business for the last 23 years. Mirza Afsar Baig, the owner of the chain has no fear of the online onslaught on his business and terms online book stores as a “passing phenomenon” that would wane off with time. “There has been no impact on our business, least from the online onslaught,” said Baig. He adds that the pleasure of book reading is about physical touch, holding the book and then selecting one for purchase.”
Baig's words found echo in Dr Arun Kumar, an IIT professor, said he would continue buying books from a bookstore. Kumar opined that online book buying may be more suitable for those who have already made up their mind about a particular title and would want to buy. “Its quite a treat to be surrounded by books, peruse them one by one and then select one for yourself,” said Kumar. - VIVEK SINHA

Higginbothams, Chennai
The oldest book store in India, Higginbotham’s will survive as long as it has been in existence — 165 years. “Technology nicely compliments our business and helps it grow further,” said S. Chandrasekhar, director, citing the example of newspapers versus television. “It was feared that television would kill newspapers. But it has not happened. People would see headlines on TV, but would still like to read how A Raja has dragged prime minister into the 2G mess”. People see a book on website, but sure come to Higginbotham’s “to feel it, smell it and purchase it.” He adds:”We are going to have a new section with e-readers.” The new technology, internet-based book selling businesses, only help grow the book business further, he believes. A belief shared by S Venkitaramanan, a member the Madras Book Club. “Higginbotham's is part of history, tradition and culture of Chennai and is a habit with people. Till the love for books and reading is alive, book stores have a future,” he says. - KV LAKSHMANA

Dasgupta & Company, Kolkata
They have been in book business since the last 125 years and do not see any threat. Das Gupta and Company Private Limited boasts of a loyal customer base and does not feel threatened by any change in trend. According to Arabinda Das Gupta, director, constant updating helps them keeping track of the changes in the market and they evolve according to the demands. “We keep updating our collection on a regular basis. With a collection of above 70,000 books and various rare titles, we do not consider e-books as a threat We do not even intend to foray into the virtual world,” he says. The bulk of the customers of this bookstore in the heart of Kolkata's Boipara (row of booksellers) are college students and staunch booklovers, mostly serious readers, who prefer to stay away from the glitzy book chains. With rare collections like an Encyclopedia published in 1902 and many more, the Das Guptas feel that they have what it takes to survive the online marketing policies. — SWATI TEWARI

Strand Bookstall, Mumbai
Strand Book Stall has not changed much since its launch in 1948, and book-lovers believe this is why it remains popular even as other independent bookstores in Mumbai struggle to survive. Tucked away in a lane in south Mumbai's Fort area, Strand still offers the 20% discounts that founder TN Shanbhag introduced when he launched the bookstore as a small kiosk in a corner of Strand Cinema. Its book sale in January is an annual shopping festival for book-buyers. And sticking to its principle of promoting knowledge through reading, Strand has not expanded its product base to include games, movies, and other electronic merchandise. “We have not been compelled to change our policy,” says Strand's managing partner Vidya Virkar. “Books are a cultural product, and consumer products do not have a place in
the same space.” He believes that
people will always have a need for touch and feel books. Strand answers that need, and continues to draw new customers. — AAREFA JOHARI

First Published: Jul 31, 2011 01:06 IST