boipara: Desperate times call for desperate measures: Boipara opens on Sundays to overcome cov blues | Kolkata News

KOLKATA: Several kiosk owners at Boipara on College Street – the world’s largest second-hand book market – have started opening stores on Sundays to maximize sales and offset losses suffered due to the pandemic over the past two years, the damage inflicted by cyclones and extreme weather conditions and the impact of the online education system.
On Sunday, at least a third of Boipara’s stores were open. Interestingly, there were several people browsing through the books and many of them even bought. The sidewalks being deserted and the other shops closed, the booksellers display their stocks there, which range from fiction to bestsellers through reference works for competitions.
Shops that remain open on Sundays are adjacent to Calcutta University, Presidency University, College Square and opposite the Indian Coffee House.
Many stall owners said they opened their shops on Sundays in the past few months when the whole education system started to go back to offline mode and people started visiting the Boipara to buy books.
“I don’t stay very far, so I open my kiosk on Sundays to earn some money. Sales are not as good as on weekdays, but the little I earn makes up for the losses suffered over the past two years due to the pandemic, the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan and the closure of educational establishments,” said said Habibul Sarkar, who sells books for Madhyamik. , Higher Secondary and Madrasa examinations in a stand adjacent to the University of the Presidency.
Boipara – a mile-long stretch of College Street – has hundreds of stalls selling used books, rare academic journals, fiction, maps and everything in between, making it the world’s largest market second-hand books. It is also the largest book market in the country.
Business came to a halt two years ago when the pandemic hit and the lockdown was announced. Within weeks, Cyclone Amphan delivered another blow, destroying books and damaging shops and stalls. Sales plummeted as the education system moved online and uncertainty loomed over exams.
“It’s a struggle for survival. The last two years have been very difficult for us financially,” said Tukai Haldar, whose store is opposite the cafe.
“At first there would be hardly any sales on Sundays, but now more people have inquired and they have started coming to buy books.”
Department store owners said they weren’t toying with the idea of ​​opening on Sundays as it wouldn’t be viable for them with weak sales.