Understanding the Demand Drivers of Books in India

R. Sriram presented a paper ‘Understanding the Demand Drivers of Books in India’ at the workshop on Contemporary Indian Writing In English And The Indian Market in 2007.
Via goodreads

The Demand drivers of book buying can be defined in terms of three types of access:

1. Desire for books or psychological access
2. Affordability or commercial access
3. Availability with required proximity and visibility or physical access

And as the Indian market evolves rapidly, becomes more globalised, with the constant of change, the need to update one’s knowledge and competences become more pronounced.

Also, with the rapid shift from joint to nuclear families, the source of knowledge and wisdom with regard to the conduct of our lives no longer comes from the elders, whether to do with parenting and child-care, religion and rituals, cuisines, improvement of self etc. These trends present a great opportunity for books to play a larger role in providing relevant knowledge and even wisdom.

If we study the affordability factor in the countries with a large book market, we can observe that books are priced cheaper than a movie ticket – infact they are only 70% of the cost of the ticket.

In India however this is not the case – rather it is an inverse situation.

The distribution process in India is also in the cottage industry stage, with little ability to manage the complexities of the long tail of books. Bookstore chains like Crossword are able to get only a 60% fulfillment at best, thus leading to a huge loss for all stakeholders.

Read the entire paper here.

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