With the growing popularity of online shopping and e-books, and a general dip in readership, the Sunday book market at Abids is gradually losing its halo. Or is it?

For long, the Sunday book market at Abids has been regarded a one-stop-shop for every kind of book under the sun.

The stacks of fiction, non-fiction, magazines, comics, journals and the like, arranged in never-ending piles by the roadside, has always been a treat for any booklover. And the fact that they were sold at less than half the market price was the cherry on the cake.

But with the growing popularity of online shopping and ebooks, and the decline in readership, Abids is gradually losing its halo. On being questioned, however, there is a mixed response from people.

Akram, a book seller, says, “I have been selling books for 8 years here [in Abids] and it is very sad to see the number of buyers coming down. There has been a sharp decrease especially since 2010. Our business used to peak in summer, when students would spend their holidays reading fiction. But people are more fascinated by television and movies, and there is a huge drop in the number of youngsters stopping by. The number of elderly people has not gone down much though.”

What has also undergone a sea change is the kind of books that make it to the reading table.

“For instance, youngsters would earlier buy fiction like Harry Potter, but now non-fiction, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and self-help books focussing on personality development are more popular,” says Akram.

Upbeat

However, Mohammed, who deals exclusively in magazines ranging from Tehelka to Filmfare, says he has not seen much of a decline in numbers. People still like to have a deep insight into things they are passionate about, he says. Staring at the computer screen while reading long articles can also strain their eyes. This is the reason, he feels, his magazines still sell. Most of his customers are movie enthusiasts who buy old film magazines to add up to their collection.

While Humera, a student, prefers online shopping for the sake of convenience; Eva, a fashion designer, stops by at Abids regularly for the wide range and reasonable prices the book market has to offer.

Shards from the blast

A lot of booksellers and customers agree that the recent Dilsukhnagar blast has also brought down the weekend huddle. Rajshekar, who has been buying books from Abids for over 30 years, opines, “I do not understand why people would stop coming and reading because of the blasts. I believe that life goes on and that books constitute a major part of it.”

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