A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

Ram Gopal Sharma & Sons in Shankar Mar­ket, a pre-In­de­pen­dence era lend­ing li­brary-cum­book­shop is try­ing to keep the spirit of pa­per­backs alive in the world of digi­ti­sa­tion.

India Today - - COVER STORY - By Ak­shita Khosla

Five years ago, the fu­ture of pa­per­backs looked bleak; ex­perts warned us about the death of the print word. Now, in 2017, it ap­pears as if lovers of hard copies can breathe a sigh of re­lief. Thank­fully, not ev­ery­body is ready to part with their child­hood clas­sics, or for­get the feel and smell of the pages. Ram Gopal Sharma and Sons is one such pre-in­de­pen­dence era li­brary that is over­flow­ing with lit­er­ary clas­sics, glitzy mag­a­zines and old comics. Here, you can both buy and bor­row books that have yel­lowed with time and age.

Who Runs it?

Orig­i­nally founded by Ram Gopal Sharma, the li­brary-cum-book­shop is now be­ing run by his daugh­ter-in­law, Man­jula Sharma, 63.

What They Do?

Apart from sell­ing hard copies, this dainty store lets en­thu­si­asts rent books for a min­i­mal fee of Rs 40 for a week. They also sup­ply news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines to gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions and pri­vate of­fices.

In­ter­net Im­pact

“Our sales have gone down due to digi­ti­sa­tion. A lot of chil­dren to­day are not in the habit of read­ing and de­pend on kin­dles and tablets,” says Man­jula.

Keep­ing Up

To keep up, they col­lab­o­rated with the web­site, BookMeABook about five years ago. “We’ve listed most of our books on­line and have about 100 ded­i­cated mem­bers. We de­liver books for free,” adds Man­jula.

High­light

Mills & Boon con­tin­ues to be the best­seller here. “Ladies in their 60s and 70s con­tinue to or­der the 50s’

Mills & Boon col­lec­tion. They find them clean and ro­man­tic.”

Man­jula Sharma, owner, Ram Gopal Sharma & Sons

BOYS DIG Star Comics, West­ern Com­bat/War Comics

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