Saturday, April 14, 2012

Strand Book Stall, Mid-year sale, Bangalore

The Strand Book Stall is having its mid-year sale, just for this weekend. It is taking place in the compound of the Wesley Tamil Church, which is located behind Garuda Mall on Magrath Road in Bangalore.

This is the hall where the book sale is taking place.

This is the Wesley Tamil Church; it has an unassuming but elegant facade.

 The hall is to the right of the church. Behind the hall you can see the massive Garuda Mall.

On the road that connects Magrath Road to Richmond Road, you can see a couple of signs that point you to the Wesley Tamil Church compound and the sale.

The hall is is not a very large one, but still big enough to have four aisles.

As always there were some good and interesting books to be spotted in the collection. This is one that I had not heard of before, but will do so now.

Paul Theroux is a noted author, and this is a book with a very striking cover, shall we say. Most people will recognize the photo as that of Goddess Kali, but one can imagine that many in the west would find the cover rather striking. I have not read the book, so cannot say whether the cover has any bearing on the plot, or it is more by way of exercising creative instincts. In any case, I have added A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta to my wishlist.

The day was very hot and dry, and quite unlike Bangalore summers. This has been a particularly long and hot and dry spell in Bangalore, and with no respite from the short but refreshing showers that provide much-needed cooling down of the city. That heat could probably explain the low attendance at the sale. I could also point to the explosion of online sales of books via vendors like Flipkart, IndiaPlaza, Infibeam, and others. What is not in dispute is that online sales have been hurting traditional retailers.
Nonetheless I would also suggest improvements that Strand could have made to their sale. The books had been laid out in one long, continuous heap, arranged very broadly by theme, but not much more to guide visitors by. They could have selected the 500 bestsellers and given them prominence. These bestsellers should have been surrounded by similar books. The visible placement of bestsellers attracts people's attention - they do not have to hunt around the whole hall searching for books. The hunt is something that appeals to some people, and there's nothing wrong in that, because the hall had enough books to satisfy the motivated hunter of books also. For the majority of the people however, a better thought-out placement would have helped.

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© 2012, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.