In the West, the effects of e-commerce and digital publishing are certainly being felt in traditional bricks and mortar bookstores. In the UK for instance, figures released by Book Sellers Association, which is a major trade association for booksellers suggest that 500 independent bookstores have closed down since 2005, due to commercial pressures from online retailers (mainly Amazon), e-Books and large supermarkets.
In India the current landscape is different. The market for eBooks stands at 1%, so printed books are still the main medium, which people use to read. Surely physical bookstores in India are safe? Yes, for the time being, certainly. However, e-commerce is continuing to gain strength, with its current worth standing at $13 Billion. Technology to consume eBooks is becoming readily available, particularly through mobile penetration, which currently stands at a strong 70.96% across India.
Indeed, in Hyderabad, which is India’s fourth most populous city, physical bookstores are noticing a change, and the major issue seems to be the increase in e-commerce activity across the country.
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For example, in an interview with The Hindu (12th March 2014), Myneni Lakshmi of the Akshara bookstore described the change in buying habits over the past five years, noting that there was a huge demand for books when the store first opened. She shared further insights, stating that people nowadays prefer buying books from e-commerce websites, which can offer up to 40% discounts.
If such trends are being witnessed in Hyderabad, then surely similar experiences are being had by traditional bookstores in other major cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata? Also, as the availability of eBooks in India gains momentum, which by their very nature have to be downloaded online, will this contribute to further difficulties for traditional bookstores?
Image credit: oldandsolo on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]