Thiruvananthapuram: With new academic year on the anvil, the second hand bookshops in Palayam next to Public Library are packed with customers.
From school textbooks which include NCERT, SCERT to Pradeep’s guides’, S. L. Arora books on Physics, R.D. Sharma’s solutions for class 10 mathametics all are available at these stalls. Those preparing for competitive exams like medical, engineering entrance and civil service have a range of books to choose from.
Many prefer these stalls as purchasing the same books from leading book houses or publishing firms could burn a hole in their pockets. They say the books may be second hand, worn out and torn but the contents are priceless. May-June is the peak season when text books for the new academic year for sixth standard to plus two fly off the shelves in no time.
The 25-30 odd stalls as seen today were established more than a decade ago. In between they had to relocate to other places temporarily following pressure from civic body.
“More than book sales it is social service that we are doing. Students belonging to marginalised sections come here because of the affordable rates, ” said Jayan mash to DC, who is the oldest hand in this business. He was a tution tacher and several yeras ago he came looking for books. The idea of old books caught his imagination and Jayan entered the trade.
Another stall owner said; “Even though the earnings are meagre and just about enough to meet our daily needs, we continue to be on the job because of the satisfaction it gives to us.”
But he is tad bit disappointed with the growing inclination of youth towards online material. Many also look for original book instead of going for old ones because of the wear and tear. “It’s a treasure. Even rare books which are not there in regular book stores, are available here,” said a girl student.
Despite all these challenges, the second hand book stalls are here to stay which is evident from number of people who come here in search of books of their choice.