Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, Jul 08, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
Tamil Nadu
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

Tamil Nadu - Chennai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

At less than half the cost, these books are a steal

By Akhila Seetharaman

CHENNAI, JULY 7. It is that time of the year when students flock to second hand book shops. It doesn't matter that they books are a bit worn, or have torn pages patched up with cellophane tape, or that they are heavily underlined and have scratchy notes on the margins.

Second hand bookshops at Triplicane, Moore Market and Mylapore are abuzz today with activity. Not always frenetic, but still busy enough.

"We sell old books at 40 to 50 per cent of the original price," says M. Sakthivel of Vijay Book Store at Triplicane. Three years ago, the shop was nothing but a spread of books on the pavement. Today, it is a bustling store, dealing in both new and old textbooks. The store buys second-hand publications from students at 25 to 40 per cent of the original price and sells them at 40 to 50 per cent of the price.

They may not be glossy but they serve the purpose, especially for price-conscious customers. "When the same books are available cheaper, why buy new ones?" asks R. Vijaykumar, a student of B. Com. at T.S. Narayanaswamy College, looking for his courseware on business management, statistics and accounting.

Of course, the biggest haunt for second hand book hunters is Alwar's, a legend in its own right on Luz Church Road.

If you are passing by during the day, you can pick up `Elements of Mercantile Law,' `Income Tax Theory,' `Networking Essentials,' and even `Metal Statistics,' for a song. "Families have been buying books from me for generations. This is my way of serving people," says elderly Alwar, as he guides customers through an enormous heap stacked by the road.

Bundles of weather-beaten books are stacked against the walls of the Universal Book Centre, arranged as `sets' for students of all ages. "We source books through agents across the country," says A. Vijayaraghavan, who runs the store, started by his grandfather 80 years ago at Moore Market.

The charm of hand-me-downs may be catching, but the retail business in academic books is not affected in the least. M. Hemalatha, senior customer relations manager at Higginbothams, says people are increasingly willing to buy brand new books, especially when it comes to school books. The store's sales have been rising at 20-25 per cent per year. "There is so much awareness of education... parents rush to the store with the syllabus in hand. And more people are willing to buy even reference books and encyclopaedias," she observes.

The downside of shopping in second hand stores: "Its hard to find what you are looking for," remarks Ms Yasmin, an M.Phil student.

Nevertheless, for many students, paying Rs 15 for a book worth Rs 50 is well worth wading through a few mounds of books.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Tamil Nadu

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu