At a time when the common refrain is people are reading less, the ongoing Hyderabad Book Fair is witnessing an active effort to reverse the trend.
The result is the introduction of audiobooks and deep discounts on books, and even bulk selling!
The books themselves range from new to old, from novels to non-fiction, from children’s literature to self-help tomes.
And the response seems to be commensurate with the efforts being made.
South First encountered not only numerous people who were buying the books at discounted rates, but also some who picked up subscriptions to an app that releases three new Telugu audiobooks every week, and already has a repository of thousands of such audiobooks.
The audiobook stall
The single stall that is selling audiobooks — or rather access to them — is Dasubhasitam. What’s more, the audiobooks are all in Telugu, the publisher’s Content Manager Meena Yogeswar told South First.
She added that the books range across genres, from fiction to non-fiction, from spiritual to devotional, and even short-form content.
Founded in 2017, Dasubhasitam has a repository of hundreds of books every year. And the number goes up every week with three new releases every Friday.
At a time when the question of the preservation of regional languages is becoming increasingly, prominent, Dasubhasitam is offering a lifetime subscription for ₹7,750 for its entire repository of books — current and future — for a limited number of subscribers.
A range of discounts
And then there is a range of discounts that publishers and booksellers are offering all across the fair.
Mohammed Sadiq Pasha, the public relations officer of the Hyderabad Book Fair, told South First that the fair itself had urged sellers and publishers to give a minimum of 10 percent discount on books.
After all, the event was making a return after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and restrictions.
He said the discounts were helping the stakeholders sell more books, and also rekindle people’s interest in reading.
Buyers concurred. Software engineer Lakshminarayan, while buying a bunch of books with his family, explained why.
He told South First that while he personally was interested in books and magazines about latest trends, his children would like to read general knowledge books and novels.
Then, the elders at home would prefer spiritual books and Telugu children’s books, which would help them tell stories to the kids in the house.
Hence, he was buying books at a discount, to basically get something for everyone back home.