Spend ‘second wave’ for reading


The year 2020 brought about a paradigm shift in everyone’s lives — people began thinking, eating, living and reading differently…writes Siddhi Jain.

Getting some free time will be a great relief for some people at least to enjoy themselves with favourite hobbies. Over the last year, the pandemic has led people to spend most of their time indoors as they maintain social distance. As India now reels under an alarming second wave, many parts of the country have tightened stay-at-home protocols — making consumers opt for activities that reduce their need to step out — a key pastime being ‘reading’.

According to homegrown e-commerce platform Flipkart, the Books category has witnessed a growth of 1.5 times in the number of units sold in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period last year.

“With people finding comfort in books, it’s curious to see how reading habits and genre preferences can change during unprecedented times. We pride ourselves in being close to consumers, while deeply understanding their needs and expectations across the country and work continuously towards providing them with the best selection, through our sellers.

In the case of books, overall, two-third of the demand for books on the platform came from tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the past quarter, where we witnessed increasing searches from cities such as Jamshedpur, Azamgarh, Faizabad, Deoria, Guwahati, Gorakhpur and Bhubaneswar,” Nishant Gupta, Head — Beauty, General Merchandise, Home and Furniture, Flipkart told.

With competitive exams around the corner coupled with time in hand, people are upskilling, leading to a growing demand for academic books, reference books, general knowledge books and English books such as Word Power Made Easy and Oxford Student Atlas. Owing to children spending their time at home, activity books, picture and colouring books have also seen a clear spike.

The year 2020 brought about a paradigm shift in everyone’s lives — people began thinking, eating, living and reading differently.

Books that deal with weight loss, diets and other ‘how to’ books saw great demand. Self-help and soul-searching books boomed more than usual, as people turned to books as a way of understanding their old and new lives, making books such as ‘Ikigai’, ‘Think Like a Monk’, ‘Death’, ‘Power of Subconscious Mind’, ‘Attitude is Everything’, ‘Life’s Amazing Secret feature in the Top 100 books sold on Flipkart. Additionally, books by celebrity writers such as Sonu Sood, Tahira Kashyap and Priyanka Chopra made it to the bestseller list on the platform, learnt.

In order to encourage book readers further, Flipkart has also launched its digital property for its books category — Flipkart #NowReading on Instagram, which hosts digital launches of new books, discussions with bestselling authors, reviews and suggestions. It has hosted Amish Tripathi, Rujuta Diwekar, Sonu Sood, Durjoy Dutta, Tahira Kashyap and Chetan Bhagat, among others.

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