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NAMMA METRO TO RIDE ON POPULAR INDIAN FICTION

Book Stores Across Bangalore Buzzing With Activity

Getting ready to board the Metro? Well, before you do, check your bag to see if your favourite companion is travelling with you. For, the Metro ride might just give you that quality time to catch up on some reading.

Book stores across the city are buzzing with activity as many are of the opinion that the Metro would actually help people reconnect with reading. From discounts to promotional events, books for children, women, books at Rs 49, Kannada books — it's all happening in the city as Namma Metro seems to have brought back the zing to reading.

Interestingly, book stores are lining up new-age popular Indian fiction writings, which are basically short, racy, saucy, priced under Rs 150, and filled with real-life anecdotes, targeted at people in the age group of 20 to 35, who like to read but do not have the patience to carry around bulky books.

Publishing house Penguin India had popularized this category of Indian fiction writing with its Metro Reads selection of books. Such books can be read in under two hours. Some readers may even be able to finish them in under an hour. A short story can actually be completed while on a Metro, says Lijin Thomas, head marketing, at Landmark.

According to book stores, the popular Indian fiction category is a hit with travellers. In bookstores like Crossword, the genre accounts for 12% of store’s total book sales, and as a segment, is seeing a growth of 25% yearon-year.

And, Namma Bengaluru seems to have the hots for the chick-flick books. Indian-authored fiction books on banking, first love, college and corruption are hot at the moment. While in Mumbai, there is a lot of interest on books related to banking, in Bangalore, we see a demand for books on women and femaleauthored books, says Sivaraman Balakrishnan, manager, marketing, Crossword.

As a special for Bangaloreans, Reliance Timeout is running a promotion — 10% discount on the popular Indian fiction category for all customers and 20% discount for book club members to coincide with the launch of the Metro. Higginbothams, which is located just across the Metro station on MG Road, is also planning a major promotion campaign that would coincide with the launch of the Metro, on October 20.

“"Journeys and books have always shared a long-standing camaraderie. We see the same extending to the Metro journey that the commuters will undertake. Popular commercial fiction and Metro Reads is what we are recommending for Metro users. The books under the Metro Reads category have been separately and prominently displayed along with posters recommending the books," says Dipak Marwah VP & Business Head, Reliance TimeOut.

Though not specific to the launch of the Metro, Landmark is running promotions on a range of fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels written by Indian and foreign authors, priced between Rs 49 and Rs 199. The company believes that its pricing strategy could encourage Metro travellers to buy books.

According to L Narasimhan, branch manager, Higginbothams, they are planning print ads, hoardings and stalls outside their store. The stalls will have Kannada books and a wide variety of children’s books.

Children’s books is another segment that’s gaining momentum in India with the advent of Indian-authored children’s books. Of the Rs 1,200 crore English publishing industry in India, the children’s book category alone accounts for about 15%. Of that, the Indian-authored children’s books section is seeing a robust growth of 10% year-on-year.