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Demonetisation impacting book fair sales

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 6 - The 30th Guwahati Book Fair is under way at Chandmari in the midst of impact of demonetisation.

Although the organisers � Publication Board, Assam � provided some amenities to ease the impact of demonetisation in the form of an ATM within the fair premises, apart from free Wi-Fi, the booksellers believe they should have come better equipped with swipe machine or Paytm app options and adequate amount of small currencies.

The fair at the AEI Field, Chandmari, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on December 30 and will continue till January 10.

On January 1, the fair did brisk business of Rs 80 lakh.

�We are expecting the sales to pick up as the footfall has not been very encouraging so far, except for last Sunday,� said Subhankar Jana of Evolve, Kolkata.

Along with Parag Bhuyan of Aank Bank, Jana feel that the space for the stalls at the fair ground should have been provided judiciously as some stalls are at a disadvantageous position compared to others.

�The demonetisation has also definitely affected the sale as many people visiting stalls enquire about swipe machines. We have applied for the machine, but we are yet to get it,� Jana said.

Some stall owners took up the matter of space with the organisers on Wednesday, which was resolved later in the day, said Publication Board, Assam secretary Pramod Kalita.

�The fair is recording usual business and the first day of this year, being a Sunday, both the crowd and the sales were at peak. Even on regular days, the Publication Board is selling books worth Rs 60,000 on an average and the per day overall sale at the fair is Rs 35 lakh,� he added.

Pinaki Mazumdar, one of the directors of Chuckervertty Chatterjee & Co Ltd, Kolkata, said that sales have been 50 per cent less compared to that of previous years.

Outlining an interesting trend among the book lovers of Assam, Mazumdar said that books related to astrology are among the highest sold in the book fairs of Guwahati. �We have been coming here for the past 24 years and can safely assert that books on tantra and astrology have a huge readership here, apart from fictions,� he added.

For youngsters, however, the Students� book stall is a special delight. That stall sells used books, especially a wide range of fictions and bestsellers at a fixed price of Rs 100 for any of them, which is a good opportunity for the students to read their favourite authors without spending all of their pocket money.

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