Digital payments rise at World Book Fair but small publishers struggle

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) As people are still struggling to manage the shortage of cash, the ongoing World Book Fair here is witnessing a rise in payment through mobile banking and debit/ credit cards.

Most of the major book stalls like Penguin, Oxford, and Bloomsbury have installed card swiping machine while some of the stalls who could not manage to acquire a machine in time are using Paytm to help customers with payment facilities.

“We knew that people will not be able to carry much of cash so we had to get swipping machines. Many customers are also opting for Paytm, so sale of books till now has been normal,” Shinjini Jain of FingerPrints publishing house told IANS.

However, the recent demonetisation has lead to a major dip in the sales of small scale publishers and book store owners who are not into card swiping or digital payment methods.

“The demonetisation is indeed affecting our sale as people do not have sufficient cash. We did apply for the machine but have not received yet,” Maqbool Khan from Bikaner’s Vagyadi Prakashan told IANS.

“The first question that buyers are asking after coming to the stall is whether we have card machine or not. Since we do not have a machine, customers are turning away,” said Kiran Lingwal from Lifi Publication.

“The market is down by 25 per cent this year compared to last year. Even after having card swiping machine and Paytm, the sales did not see a rise yet. Despite a Sunday crowd, we managed to sell limited books,” said Saji Pappacha from National Book Stall.

Even for customers, not having enough cash all the time or unavailability of ATMs is creating a little trouble.

Sri Kumar, an Advocate by profession said: “I had to come out of a book store because I did not had sufficient cash and I still could not find the ATM here. I will either have to abandon the hope of getting the book or come some other day.”

According to the organisers, there are six ATM machines and one mobile ATM van stationed at the venue.

Organised at Pragati Maidan, the 44th edition of World Book Fair will continue till January 15.