Friday, Jan 28, 2022
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Go-Go Literature

Railway bookstalls undergo a makeover

Go-Go Literature
Jitender Gupta
Go-Go Literature
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

But there's been a change over the past year. Railway bookstalls across the country have had a makeover, thanks to new marketing tactics by publishers and those in the book distribution trade, driven by what they perceive as the changing profile and reading habits of the railway traveller. A quick browse at the bookstall at the New Delhi station reveals Amartya Sen's Argumentative Indian rubbing shoulders with Mario Puzo's Godfather; Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies flanking Suketu Mehta's Maximum City; Aravind Adiga's and Kiran Desai's Booker-winning titles White Tiger and Inheritance of Loss cheek-by-jowl with that old Bates' guide on how to improve your eyesight without glasses (though some would say it would need more than better vision to plough through these two tomes).

It's a similar scene at the chain of railway bookstalls run by A.H. Wheeler & Co across North India, and at Higginbotham's stalls at Chennai's Central, Egmore and Tamboram stations, where you could well find authors like Manjula Padmanabhan, Nandan Nilekani and Ramachandra Guha, and the memoirs and biographies of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, alongside staples like Robin Cook's medical thrillers and competition guides.

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