Online platform proving a boon for readers across the globe
Even as concerns of e-commerce giants trampling independent bookstores persist, Kannada book sellers and publishers seem to have taken the online route to cater to readers across the globe.
In a scenario where Kannada readers, not just outside Karnataka but also from districts in the State, have a problem of accessibility to book stores, patrons are going online.
However, retailers say that concerns about retail trade are factored in organically, as they run most of these online platforms. While these platforms do not offer large discounts, they also charge for shipping books.
Sapna Book House has emerged the biggest player in the online segment. Others who joined fray are Akruti Books, Nava Karnataka and A4dable.com. Akshara Prakashana of Heggodu has also launched an online platform, which only sells books published by them.
Nijesh Shah, who manages sapnaonline.com, which boasts of two lakh Kannada book titles, said they get an average of 700 orders for Kannada books every day. Till date, the biggest success was the recent novel of S.L. Bhyarappa ‘Yaana’. Within two days of the launch, 3,100 copies were sold online. Mr. Shah said that most of their orders come from the districts where bookstores do not stock adequately.
A.R. Udupa, General Manager of Nava Karnataka Publications, also said that most of their orders come from Tier-2 cities and the districts. “Nava Karnataka is a new entrant with only 1,000 books online.
However, we are getting orders for 25 books per day on an average,” he said.
Online book sales also indicate that readers in New Delhi, Pune (Maharashtra) and Tamil Nadu are widely using the platforms to procure Kannada books. Most of the overseas orders are from the United States of America, claim booksellers.
Mr. Nijesh Shah said, “The regional book market is untapped as retail trade is yet to be decentralised. Online book sales are the best way to democratise access to language books across the globe. E-commerce giants, like Flipkart and Amazon, lack a wide ranging catalogue of regional language books.”