The Hindu

New strategy by Higginboth­ams

The bookstore on Mount Road offers close to 5,000 titles at a 60 per cent discount

- UDHAV NAIG

CHENNAI: Amidst an onslaught of e-commerce websites selling books and invention of different digital reading devices, Higginboth­ams, the oldest bookstore in Chennai — the origins of which can be traced back to 1844 — has so far refused to give in to the competitio­n and sell their books on a discount. Not anymore.

Over the last few days, Higginboth­ams, which began by selling religious literature in its early days before expanding its titles, has put up close to 5,000 titles on discount sale. These books will be sold at a 60 per cent discount.

“This is about giving away the ‘dead stock’ — the books that were unsold because the publishers refused to take them back. There were two options: to pulp the books or give them away on a discount, we decided to do the latter. The books on sale are on varied subjects,” says M. Hemalatha, senior customer relationsh­ip manager of Higginboth­ams.

Before the era of e-commerce, Higginboth­ams was one of the most popular bookstores for city residents. With the Internet altering the landscape of publishing and distributi­on, business at book stores has been affected by discounts offered by ecommerce websites.

Higginboth­ams

has come up with a strategy to cope with this situation. The manager says the book store is still sought after for its ‘niche books’.

“Nowhere will you find textbooks on medicine, arts, science and Indology. Even if we do not have some, we know where to source them. Some of these books can’t be bought online,” she says, adding, “We also have a superb collection of children’s and motivation­al books and also Tamil literature. These sections are doing very well.”

The employees, many of who have seen the good and the not-so-great days, believe that the time has come to adapt to the changing business situation. “The management is thinking of different ideas. Perhaps we can set up a coffee shop where people can sit inside and read a book. We will see,” says the hopeful manager.

 ?? FILE PHOTO ?? The books on sale are on varied subjects
FILE PHOTO The books on sale are on varied subjects

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