Bookworms make the most of stalls at Sammelana
Rishikesh Bahadur Desai, TNN Feb 21, 2010, 09.16pm IST
GADAG: The 76th all-India Kannada Sahitya Sammelana has brought smiles on the faces of book publishers and sellers. According to the organizers, the book sales in the three days could touch Rs 4 crore.
Neither the hot Sun nor dust has stopped bookworms from flocking to book stalls. Some stalls have had to devise new ways to reduce the rush by putting boards that they are open even in late-evening hours.
"Book sales in two days crossed Rs 2.5 crore. They could reach Rs 4 crore," S G Hiremath, reception committee co-ordinator, said.
Stall owners attribute this to proximity of the stalls to the main venue, facilities provided to them and the brand name of Gadag in the publishing industry. "At the Chitradurga Sammelana, book stalls were atop a hill, away from the main venue. But still, book sales touched Rs 3 crore. Now, the stalls are around the main stage and are neatly maintained with carpets and dust-proof nets. This has increased the sales," said Venkatesh of Samaj Pustakalaya, a publishing house.
"Gadag is known as the Mecca of publishing. This brand has attracted a lot of book lovers to this Sammelana. We are overwhelmed by their response. Many publishers have sold all their pending stocks," said S G Patil of PC Shabadimath Publishers.
"The last Sammelana in Gadag was in 1961. I think the long gap of 49 years in organizing the Sammelana here had made the people desperate. Most of them seem to instinctively buy books as a souvenir," says Kannada activist Ravindra Doddameti.
There are 480 book stalls in the Sammelana venue. Book shops and publishing houses from Bangalore, Mysore, Dharwad, Mangalore, Gadag and other places have put up their stalls, offering books on wide-ranging topics: self-help books, home improvement books, personality-development guides, books on health and child care, popular fiction, and books on astrology and Vastu.
Most stalls exhibit books by popular authors. However, there are many stalls selling serious literature, non-fiction and translation of classics. Some stalls are also selling old and used books at Rs 10 a book or Rs 100 for three books.
Some stalls offered discounts ranging from 10-30%. Those managed by universities and government agencies like Kannada Book Authority offered discounts of up to 50%.
As per Kannada Sahitya Parishat figures, book sales in previous Sammelanas is as follows: Shimoga - Rs 5 crore, Chitradurga - Rs 3 crore, and Udupi - Rs 1 crore.