Traditional bookstores live on in the age of Amazon

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Mina G.H. from Iran, stands next to a stack of books she plans to purchase at a bookstore in Bengaluru on April 2, 2019.

Since its entry into the Indian market in June 2013, online giant Amazon has rapidly entrenched itself in English and Hindi language publications, placing a heavy burden of competition on traditional brick and mortar bookstores.

“The problem with Amazon is that they are supposed to be a platform; instead they are working as a store,” said Vinay Kalro, co-owner of Gangarams Book Bureau. “But we can’t necessarily blame them for the pressure they are placing on traditional bookstores. Amazon is doing its best to get into the market; the government, however, is not adhering to rules and regulations. Their policy is tilted in favour of the e-commerce giants.”

Many booksellers in Bengaluru expressed reservations about the growing impact of Amazon’s bookstore dominance over the marketplace, although most attempted to put on a brave face. Krishna Gowda, the owner of Bookworm, told DH that Amazon has had no effect on his store, primarily because Bookworm has continued to turn a profit when it comes to the sales of second-hand books.

“What Amazon does is offer a discount on its top 300 titles, but 90% of book wares on their website have no discount at all, and this is an area where traditional bookstores have an advantage because we offer a 35% discount on all titles,” Gowda said.

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Traditional bookstores live on in the age of Amazon

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