STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Hit by Covid, indie bookstores in Kochi struggle to survive

With the tourism sector hitting the rock bottom, such ventures are staring at a bleak future 
 

Published: 11th August 2020 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2020 06:12 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI:l While campaigns to help local business tide over the aftermath of Covid-19 outbreak are sprouting everywhere, independent book stores in the city struggle to stay afloat, with little attention coming their way. 

The handful of such stores, especially in the Fort Kochi region, caters to a clientele made up of tourists. But, with the tourism sector hitting the rock bottom, such ventures are staring at a bleak future.  These bookshops are often treasure troves of handpicked editions and books of various genres, which might not be available at a branded bookstore chain.

Idiom Bookstores, an independent bookstore situated at Princess Street, downed its shutters in March when the lockdown was announced.  The quaint little store, which has been functioning for over 25 years, is battling tough times. The ban on international travel and restrictions in place have cut off its source of income. 

“The store has been remaining closed for the past four months. As a shop that stocked English language books on Indology, there are very few local takers. Health, regional and national history, culinary books, Hinduism and yoga are topics which intrigue foreigners. The fact that we do not stock any regional language books has also affected sales. Moving to an online sale too is a risky bet, since there many branded e-commerce platforms selling books at competitive prices,’ says Tushara Shyam, manager at the store. 

While the pandemic has been a harsh blow, a noticeable change in reading habits of people in recent years too had affected sales. “Even though adversities exist, we are looking to get back in business once the pandemic situation is under control,” adds Tushara. Another independent bookstore, Kochi Books, at Fort Kochi too has a similar tale to tell. To tide over the crisis, the independent bookstore has utilised the lockdown to strengthen their online presence on social media platforms. 

“Our main concern is the storage and maintenance of books in stock. With reduced sales, moisture and humidity have detrimental effects on the books,” says Vimal G Kumar, owner. “Customer walk-ins have fallen substantially. Social media has helped in bringing a few orders from various parts of the state and outside. The orders are delivered through India Post. In the initial phase of lockdown, when e-commerce platforms were restricted from delivery of non-essential items, quite a few orders were coming in. Since then, the trend has reversed,” adds Vimal.

Indie shops
These bookshops are often treasure troves of handpicked editions and books of various genres, which might not be available at a  branded bookstore chain.

Targeting tourists 
As a shop that stocked English language books on Indology, there are very few local takers. Health, regional and national history, culinary books, Hinduism and yoga are topics which intrigue foreigners. The fact that we do not stock any regional language books has also affected sales, said a book store manager. 

More from Kochi.

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp