Let me begin by saying that I do not buy books from peddlers who sell books on traffic junctions on the streets of Gurgaon near New Delhi, where I live. Nor is the intention of this post to promote this “trade”.
I have been observing these peddlers with great interest over the past several weeks. The books they sell very closely follow the bestseller lists one reads and hears about. This is not rocket science. It is quite likely that someone using these peddlers as another ‘point of sale’. I have touched and felt some of these books and have noticed that the quality of paper used, printing, and binding is at par with the books published by the major trade publishers. Many of these books are wrapped in plastic cover, and are sold at nearly half their list price. Almost none of them have dog ears or any other signs that they are used.
At two different traffic intersections this week, I saw that the following books were being sold. And to me, it is proof that these books are indeed in demand from readers. And the list is an interesting mix of both fiction and nonfiction. In a random order, the list is as follows:
- The Fault in our stars by John Green
- I am Malala
- The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru
- Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi
- One Life is Not Enough by Natwar Singh
- A couple of books by Durjoy Dutta
I am left wondering: should the folks at Nielsen Bookscan India include these sales in their rankings? And as an author, would you be excited to see your book being sold at traffic junctions? (i.e. would that be an indicator that your book is indeed selling well, even though you lose out on the royalty payments?)