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Old Book Stalls at Abids Too Face Competition Online

Published: 11th May 2015 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2015 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

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HYDERABAD: Inspite of facing various odds, the second-hand book shops that open shutters every Sunday at Abids, still draw a number of book lovers.

Like all brick-and-mortar stores, which have suffered due to the ever-growing e-commerce websites, even the market of used books has suffered a dent in its sales.

The quantum of sales have been witnessing a slump at this pavement market which provide a wide range of old and new books on different topics, both fiction and non-fiction to the avid book lovers, at a much cheaper price.

“Earlier, we used to sell books worth more than Rs 5,000 in a single day. Sometimes, the sales would go up to Rs 10,000. But, of late if we make anywhere between Rs 2,000 - Rs 3,000, then we deem it is as a great day,” said Imran Tahir, a bookseller.

Though, we have a list of loyal customers who come often and there is also steady flow of new visitors, our books fail to sell as much as they used to due to the online portals that make it easy for people to buy and sell books for cheap, he added.

Though there has been a decrease in the sales margin, what cheers the book sellers is the interest being shown by youth, families and children alike for browsing through literally piles and piles of old books with frayed covers in order to discover an old classic.

“I came here by chance on one Sunday and found the place really interesting. Now, I regularly come here every Sunday. Novels and magazines which cost a bomb when bought new in book stores, can be found here at a much lesser price. Also, what’s surprising is the vast inexhaustible collection of diffewrent kinds of books which never fails to amaze me,” said J Vishidha, a management graduate.

Thousands of books are arranged in serpentine rows on the footpaths in front of the closed shutters of shops, is a feast for book lovers. Popular fiction books, old textbooks, comics, international magazines, are some of the categories of books placed on the footpath.

“A one-month-old magazine which costs about Rs 100 can be bought for just Rs 20 or Rs 30 here. Though we want to buy we may not able to afford it in book stores. But at the old books market the same book come at a much less price,” B Srikanth, an English lecturer, pointed out.

The process of acquring such a wide range of books, of both national and international origin, is a gigantic exercise in itself.

“Some English novels and books are imported directly. And some come from wholesellers in Chennai and Mumbai. Some magazines and local books are collected from the homes and office of people from the city. Some books are bought from scrap merchants to whom people sell their discarded books in kg. Collecting and sorting out of these books sometimes takes a whole week,” explains MD Abid, a book seller, who has been in the business for more than two decades now.

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