They Left Their Jobs and Started a Book Store on Wheels

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They Left Their Jobs and Started a Book Store on Wheels

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Satabdi Mishra and Akshaya Routray left their comfortable jobs at a publishing house and an advertising agency to start Walking Bookfairs.

Bhubaneswar:  In the age of e-books when many readers prefer to shop for their favourite books online, there's a duo who is keeping the charm of paperbacks alive.

Meet bibliophiles Akshaya Routray and Satabdi Mishra, who have started Walking Bookfairs, an innovative mobile bookstore in Odisha.

It was in January 2014, while travelling to Koraput district, they were disappointed to see the state of school libraries in the state.

Their love for books got them into thinking about innovative ideas to promote books and they left their comfortable jobs at a publishing house and an advertising agency to start Walking Bookfairs, a mobile book store last year.

The duo first carried few books in backpacks and walked in the streets of Koraput, displaying books on the pavement.

"We had some books with us and we started displaying them in public spaces like on the foothpath, in bus stops, under the trees so that the common man can come and have a look at books, browse through it , hold it and get a feel of the book and also if they want, they can buy at a discount," says Ms Mishra, co-owner, Walking Bookfairs.

After getting positive response, Mr Routray  and Ms Mishra bought a second-hand ambulance and travelled across all the thirty districts in Odisha, encouraging people to read.

"I thought why not take books in a van and go to places where people can actually have a look at a them and we can have lot more people coming to books," says Mr Routray.

Now, the duo have rented a small book shack in Bhubaneswar. Unlike most commercial bookstores, the book shack only has the basic necessities - a couple of benches, a beautiful garden and endless tea from the neighboring eatery.

It is this unconventional touch that has attracted most customers.

"I come here because I get good discounts. There is greenery just in front of the book store and there is ample space to sit and read," says Sidharath Ranjan, a book lover.

To make books attractive and affordable for all, Walking Bookfairs offers discounts all the year round and carries out various activities to promote reading.

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"In other bookstores, we have to tell the author's or the book name to purchase a book. In Walking Bookfairs, there is nothing like that. One can easily come and browse through books. It is our own book shop," says Deeptimayee Nayak, a visitor.

Supporting a book shack gives them less money but the joy of remaining surrounded with books is satisfying enough.
 

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