Chetan Bhagat and K.R. Meera are the season’s favourites

Hundreds of new books are published and released in Kerala every year and Malayali readers devour books in both English and Malayalam. While perennial favourites such as M.T. Vasudevan Nair and Paulo Coelho fly off the bookshelves in city stores, books by newer authors, too, find many readers.

A look at the bestselling books in Malayalam and English, according to the figures of publisher DC books, gives an idea of the reading habits of the average Malayali reader. The top selling book in Malayalam this year was Aarachar by Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award-winning author K.R. Meera. “K.R. Meera and author Benyamin are the most popular among the new crop of Malayali writers. Writers like M.T. Vasudevan and Vaikom Muhammad Basheer are, of course, always in demand,” said a store manager at DC Books.

Another top selling Malayalam work at DC Books was Jeevithavijayathinte Paadapusthakam, a biography of ‘Metro Man’ E. Sreedharan by P.V. Alby. The life of Mr. Sreedharan, who is DMRC’s principal advisor on the Kochi Metro project, seems to be of much interest to Malayali readers as another book on him named Karmayogi: E. Sreedharante Jeevitha Katha written by M.S. Ashokan is a top seller for publisher Mathrubhumi Books. Another hit from the publisher was actor and now MP, Innocent’s Cancer Wardile Chiri, which talks about his fight against cancer. A publisher said that the list of top selling books showed that Malayali readers followed current affairs and read books on people in the news.

When it comes to books in English, Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi are the undisputed top sellers. “Young adults make a beeline for the latest offerings from both the authors. Books that have been adapted into movies also find a lot of takers,” said a publishing official. Books of Paulo Coelho in both Malayalam and English, too, are sold regularly. With online stores offering discounts on books, customers have also become increasingly price conscious and hunt for the best bargains at different stores.

An official at online bookstore Indulekha said that Benyamin’s Aadujeevitham remained at the top. His book was closely followed by works of writers such as M.T. Vasudevan and O.V. Vijayan.

The city also has a bunch of stores selling pre-owned books. These stores get readers looking for perennial favourites as well as contemporary novelists. “I don’t think that technology has lead to the decline of reading habit. The internet has also provided another medium through which people find out about new authors,” said Abdul Latheef, owner of Blossom book store on Press Club Road. Reading habit did seem to have gone down among students though. “We had plenty of students coming in during the last summer vacation. This time, there was a fall in their numbers by about 40 per cent,” he said.

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