CHENNAI: A stall at the Chennai Book Fair this year does not sell books, not a single one. In fact, it doesn’t even encourage buying books but it does encourage reading. For the first time itseems, Kindles are being being sold at the city’s renowned book fair. Even though visitors come in looking for books, some leave with Kindles, while some others, at least, take back enough information to make a future Kindle purchase.
Retailers at the stall said Kindle Paper White was the most fastest moving one yet and was being offered at a discount of `2,000 at the book fair. Over 58,000 books can be downloaded on the Kindle, and according to the sales manager at the Tamil Nadu office, the price of a book on Kindle is at least 20% less than the paper version. The retailers said many parents approached the store to buy Kindles for their children to “Try and get the child to inculcate the reading habit while still feeling like they are making use of a gadget to do so,” said a seller at the stall.
While children might take to Kindles more, City Express spoke to a few avid readers to find out what they would actually prefer and most still preferred the hard copy over the Kindle. “It’s just the feel of the book, the smell and ruffling of the pages, basically reading a book just fulfills so many sensory pleasures that a Kindle would never be able to do,” said 24-year-old Nikita Sanjay. Another avid reader, S Alfred said it was also a matter of ownership. “With a Kindle, you don’t feel like you own the book, you download it, read it and then you’re done with it. But when you buy a book it is your own, you can pick it up whenever you want and just flip through the pages and read,” he said.
Another student, Alekhya K said the only reason she would ever consider buying a Kindle was because she would not be able to afford filling up her whole house with books. “If I had enough money I would buy all the books I’ve ever wanted to buy, but since I cannot do that I can buy a Kindle.” On the other side of the divide, 23-year-old Revathi K said she preferred Kindle because she felt that it was environment friendly. “I think paperless literature is the way forward. I also feel all new books that are published could take the e-book route so as to be less taxing on the environment,” she says. But despite her concern for nature, Revathi quickly adds she would enjoy holding a book in her hand more than she would holding a Kindle.