Book-business has been in the genes of Gangarams for generations. Prakash Gangaram’s grandfather was a book seller in Mysore. Then his father moved to Bengaluru in 1959 to open Bangalore Book Bureau in 1965. Spread merely on an area of 500 sq ft, the book shop was running just for a few years before expanding into a bigger setup of 3,000 sq ft, which was considerably the biggest bookshop in Bengaluru during the 1960s. Further, shifting of the shop on the strategic MG Road under its new name Gangarams Book Bureau marked another milestone of the shop’s popularity. Jyaneswar Laishram catches up with Prakash Gangaram to unfold the background of this flagship bookshop. The three-floored Gangarams Book Bureau in Bengaluru is one of the cosy corners where every bookworm across the city rushes to for a pick of any preferred title. The first floor of the shop is dedicated to stationary items while the two others for books of different genres including technical, academic and generals. All such outlook of the bookshop developed in the year 1983, with its unique features including a CD ROM division which comprised a rack of software, DVD, CD. But the division was shut down following the demise of Prakash’s father in 2007 who was solely looking after this special section.
“We would like to be different from other bookshops in the city when it comes to collection of books we keep,” said Prakash. Special order procurement is the unique process of Gangarams Book Bureau under which the bookstore has unique USP of providing its customers the books which they want. “Under such strategy, if a customer comes for a particular book, we do show them additional 8-10 books of the same topics to choose from. This motivates them to come to us regularly,” mentioned Prakash.
Academic, professional, general, literature, technical and children, Gangarams Book Bureau is into the retailing of a wide spectrum of books from reputed publishers. So is the reason why this bookshop is the ultimate destination for a myriad of customers of kinds, be it children, youngsters, parents, professionals. On the bookshop’s quality control, Prakash asserted that they are very selective in deciding on quality of the content of a particular book they are going to keep at the store. “We do not sell or promote books from publishers which we find of sub-standard,” he added.
Of late the online marketing has been competing with the retail book selling, to which Prakash opined, “Online book marketing is a US model that cannot work in India as per the current market setup.” He further articulated that the significance of retail bookshops is still strong in India.
Another big revolution sweeping across the contemporary book market is the e-book culture. This technology has been widely capturing the young generation as well as tech-savvy people, room for physical books still exists in the market. “Though, there is a growing trend of e-books in the market, but we still feel that physical bookshops will continue to be there,” affirmed Prakash.
Gangarams Book Bureau is just a single shop as it doesn’t go beyond Bengaluru and has no plans to have branches in other parts of the country. The specific reason behind such policy is that they would like to make sure that every customer at the bookshop is attended well and Prakash Gangaram wishes to interact with them in person bringing a satisfaction level.
Though Gangarams Book Bureau has long been associated with MG Road for years, the bookshop is now soon to relocate into a new premise of its own. So, bookworms swarming at Gangarams Book Bureau can gear up to experience the brand new setup of 7,200 sq ft area located on St Marks Road in April this year. The new shop will bring everything under one roof, unlike the existing three-floored building. “The stationery division will not continue as my brother, handling it right now, will be retiring soon,” said Prakash. He admitted that one-floor setup is convenient to manage and thus be able to serve the customers much better.
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