• Monday, June 24, 2024

Guwahati bucks the trend, still enjoys reading books.

Guwahati thrives on reading physical books, with book fairs and local bookstores like Panbazar showing high sales and diverse reading habits among all age groups.
on May 27, 2024
Guwahati bucks the trend, still enjoys reading books | Frontlist

In an age when digital content is increasingly taking over, Guwahati stands out as a city that still values the pleasure of reading physical books. This love of printed words is visible in the remarkable sales figures recorded at previous book fairs, as well as the passion shared by local bookstores and readers.

In 2023, the Guwahati Book Fair's sales exceeded Rs 6 crore. This followed a similarly spectacular success in 2022, when the fair's inaugural edition generated sales of more than Rs 5 crore. These figures demonstrate the city's sustained love of reading, despite the increased popularity of e-books and digital reading platforms.

Panbazar, a popular bookshop in Guwahati, continues to attract consumers of all ages. Bookstores in this neighborhood have managed to retain their appeal and significance in the digital age.

Speaking with GPlus, an executive from Barna bookstore in Panbazar gave insights into the ongoing popularity of physical books.

"These days, we are seeing more books being sold because people are reading more," he stated. "Books are no longer solely for elder readers; young people are increasingly picking them up. We've seen a considerable increase in readers between the ages of 20 and 30. They tend to like romance fiction. On the other hand, many of our senior customers continue to appreciate Assamese literature.

This comment shows Guwahati's robust and diverse reading culture, in which both young and old enjoy a variety of genres. "It's interesting to watch how tastes differ across age groups. "The younger generation is bringing new energy to the reading community, while the seniors continue to value traditional literature," the official said.

GPlus spoke with an official from Barnalata bookstore in Pan Bazar, who echoed similar observations. "It is no longer simply about reading books online. "These days, many people prefer to buy books in stores," he explained. "We sell books online, but there is a significant trend of young readers coming in to purchase physical copies. It is nice to see so many young people eagerly reading literature.

He elaborated on the bookstore's approach. "Offering both online and physical sales allows us to reach a larger audience. This manner, we keep the love for real books alive, appealing to both those who prefer the ease of online purchase and those who value the experience of browsing in a bookstore."

"Even with the rise of English medium education, there's still a strong market for Assamese novels and historical books," explained another book trader in Pan Bazaar. "Parents frequently encourage their children to read in Assamese to keep connected to their roots. Despite the digital age, individuals still enjoy buying and reading real books in their native language, which keeps our sales stable."

"In recent years, I have noticed a lot more young people coming in to buy books," he stated. "Teenagers and young adults, especially those in their twenties, are really into novels and romantic fiction. It's heartening to see this younger generation developing a strong reading habit. They are not just browsing; they are buying books regularly" , a book seller in Ganeshguri who wished to remain G Plus.

Speaking with GPlus, a top official from Assam's Publishing Board stated, "We see a growing interest in customized books in Assam." "People are particularly drawn to history-based and evidence-based books, and there's also been a rise in fiction readers. However, we have noticed a decline in short story readers in Guwahati."

He went on, "There are two types of readers: those who prefer books in English and those who prefer Assamese." Many youngsters and students attend English-medium schools and hence prefer English-language books.

On the other hand, with fewer Assamese medium schools, these pupils' parents frequently encourage them to read novels in Assamese."

When asked about book sales trends, he added, "It's difficult to determine whether book sales have increased or decreased overall." The market is highly broad, with varying preferences and reading habits."

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