“It’s time for publishers and distributors to come together”

says Rajesh Kumar Batheja of Lov Dev & Sons in conversation with AABP, on asking about how can book industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Lov Dev & Sons was established in 1970s by my father Lov Dev Batheja. The distribution network is more than 50 years old. Starting with a meagre single room office, it has grown tremendously over time and now has huge setup in Daryaganj with the best management. We shifted from Connaught Place to Daryaganj around 10 years back which lead to tremendous growth in our business. We increased our catalogue three folds. Also in 2019, we launched our publishing cell under the name “Seekosity Books” a publishing house for commercial and non-fiction and children’s books,” tells Rajesh Kumar Batheja of Lov Dev & Sons.

Genres of books…

“We deal in all categories of books. We have a huge collection of fiction and non-fiction books, competitive exams books, law books, school books and special collection of children books. We have a pan India distribution network and we export books abroad as well. We supply in all the major cities. We are also present on online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart,” he said.

Changes in the industry…

“The industry has evolved in the last 10 years, especially with the onslaught of e-commerce websites. Also, now most of the businesses are computerised, from billing to accounting. The online portals have given us a wider market to serve with a very small investment. Though it has hit some local retail shops as people nowadays find it convenient to get their books delivered at doorsteps, distributors are now spending money on marketing and advertisements on social media majorly, apart from print media. It was very important to update ourselves accordingly if we want to grow in this competitive market,” adds Rajesh.

Challenges due to Covid-19…

“Due to the global pandemic covid-19, just like other industries, our book industry had to face new challenges. But, with the support of our publishers, sub-distributors and retailers, we are still standing and facing challenges strongly,” tells Rajesh.

“Because of the ongoing crisis, there has been a substantial change in the market. Most of the business has diverted on the online market. Customers find it safe and convenient to order books on e-commerce portals, due to which most booksellers have started opening their account on e-portals or making their own website. Payment terms have changed, credit period has decreased and with new customers, orders are usually prepaid,” he adds.

“On the other hand, with schools, colleges and libraries being closed and now slowly re-opening the sales of children books. Plus schools, colleges and universities are using technology for providing study material online which in turn will affect publishers as allocation for funds will be diverted from purchasing books in bulk. I would say if the publishers and distributors support each other, we can overcome these challenges. We should try to find a way to raise our concerns to government as well,” concludes Rajesh.

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