‘Dear diary’ moments may be on the wane but every now and then, diary sales see a revival. The beginning of the year, for instance, is crucial for diary dealers and stationers.

“Though business has come down over the years, the new year brings bulk orders from corporates,” says Sampath Kumar, 46, who has been selling diaries in George Town for over two decades now.

While some companies buy about 500 diaries, there are those that place orders for 5,000 pieces. Bulk bookings are made as early as in October, says Rafiq Raja, another dealer. “Once orders are placed in October, we customise diaries as per the demand and deliver it by end of December, just in time for New Year gifting,” he says.

Most clients belong to the software, engineering and construction fields, Mr. Rafiq Raja says. Diaries in the market are available for as cheap as Rs. 10. The high-end ones, fitted with clocks, planners and calculators, may cost as much as Rs. 1,000.

A seasonal business, diary stalls are converted into stationery shops once demand drops.

“We have lost more than 30 per cent of our business over the years. Earlier, we used to buy three loads — each consisting around 1,500 diaries — but now we find it tough to sell just one load. In order to survive, we return to selling stationery, textbooks and slam books once diary season ends,” says Nasarth Banu, a diary dealer.

Though the advent of computers and mobile phones has rendered diaries and planners less relevant, some continue to maintain diaries out of a sense of nostalgia.

“Hardly anyone uses a diary as a daily log, today. While most gift it to their acquaintances, others use it for jotting down reminders and household budgets,” says M.R. Padmanabha Raju, a diary dealer.

K. Vijayalakshmi, an IT employee, says she used the complimentary diary given by her office till a few years ago. “When I bought a mobile phone five years ago, I switched to setting alerts and reminders on it. That way, I did not have to bother with carrying the diary to work every day,” she said.

State government employee R. Kumar, however, continues to use his complimentary diary to record monthly household expenses. “I get the diary free of cost and since it lies unused, I began writing household expenditures and other domestic details in it,” he said.

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