Sales at bookstores across the city have seen a 30-40% increase in recent months, following successive COVID-19 disruptions. In large stores, about 50,000 to 70,000 books are sold in a month, while medium-sized stores sell at least 30,000 books per month. While millennials and IT professionals were the main customers in the pre-pandemic era, store owners have now reported selling to the Gen Z crowd.
The increase in young audiences has also led to an increase in demand for young adult book genres. Non-fiction books, mostly related to finance and self-help, are also popular among readers. “I think we were all pretty lost during the pandemic, so it was enlightening to read about mental health, actually,” says Disha, a bookworm.
“We have added many new customers over the past few months. We’ve had young people, who are also first-time readers, asking us for recommendations. Most of them only want non-fiction books,” said Krishna of Bookworm on Church Street.
In the first days after the closings, bookstores used several methods to boost sales. Some have started renovating their store, and others, like Champaca, have added additions, such as a library-like reading room to the store, to promote sales. However, Champaca has yet to reach its pre-pandemic sales level.
.In one of the largest bookstores in the city, Blossoms, 70,000 books have been sold in a month since December. “We generally saw a drop in purchases during the months of February and March. Somehow this year, that didn’t happen. The first wave of COVID-19 scared us, but now sales are better than before the pandemic,” said Mayee Gowda, owner of Blossoms Bookstore.
Sales also appear to have picked up in Kannada bookstores. While some said they found multi-year-old customers in their stores, younger clientele also found their way to regional literature. After the pandemic, more young people started arriving. I think people have started to become more aware of Kannada classics and also read in general,” said Gururprasad DN, of Aakruti Bookstores.