HYDERABAD: Being forced into avoiding outdoor activities seems to have pushed many people to take up the habit of reading. Sellers at the Sunday book market, book stores and seasonal book fairs in Hyderabad and Secunderabad are reporting a rise in sales post the lockdown.
Various bookstore owners and librarians suggest that there has been a change in people’s reading patterns amid the pandemic. “There has been a significant improvement in readership, particularly in southern cities including Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. In fact, the sale of books was up by 60 per cent in these regions during the pandemic and post the lockdown,” said Vidyut Sharma, Founder of BookChor.com, an e-commerce site that sells used books in India).
“Interestingly, during the third and ongoing lock-the-box sale held by Bookchor in Hyderabad, many new readers were among the top book purchasers. Many new readers have also registered with us online through our website,” Sharma added.
“Every year, our sales were satisfactory only during the summer. But during the last summer, sales were bad due to the lockdown,” said Wajid Ahmed, a bookseller at Sunday book market, Abids. “Surprisingly, sales during the last four-six weeks have been tremendous. It is only after a decade that I am witnessing such an improvement in book sales,” he says. According to Wajid, genres such as children’s books and non-fiction are the highest sellers, followed by books on cooking, gardening and learning new skills.
Haripriya Bathula, founder of The Bookshelf-Library, said, “There has been a slight improvement in reading among children. But, since the pandemic is still prevalent, many purchase books rather than rent them from libraries.”
V Vedanth, a student and an avid reader, said, “Since colleges are shut, many including me are reading books. In fact, many of my friends found the pandemic to be a great opportunity to explore genres that they did not normally have the time or desire to try.”