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Jobs death livens up sales of books and memorabilia

BS Reporters  |  New Delhi 

on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, including his yet to be launched authorised biography, are a hit across major Indian stores and e-commerce sites. Popular brick and mortar outlets confirmed to Business Standard the interest level had risen sharply. Several online stores have listed Steve Jobs as top sellers after the man behind the iconic i-products passed away last week. Faced with huge demand, many stores across cities have had to put up ‘out of stock’ signs.

Somewhat similar interest was seen across book stores after artist MF Husain’s death, said a senior sales and marketing executive at Bahri Sons, a book store in Delhi’s Khan Market.

A representative of Flipkart, an e-commerce platform known for books, said demand had risen 20-25 times in the days since Jobs’ death. The Flipkart demand reflects the interest in Jobs’ soon to be released biography by Walter Isaacson, besides the on him already in the market.

At the Landmark book store in Ahmedabad, for instance, one can spot an empty shelf of his earlier biography ‘iCon Steve Jobs’. “We are out of stock for the biography whereas the other two books ‘The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation’ and ‘Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’ have seen a surge of 20 per cent in sales as well as enquiries,” says the book incharge at the only Landmark store in the city.

Even as book stores were guarded on the date by which the new biography could hit the Indian market or its price, sites like Landmark On The Net and Flipkart are already trying to outdo each other in the discounts game. While Flipkart is offering a 30 per cent discount to offer the biography at Rs 559, down from the original price of Rs 799, Landmark is booking orders at a cheaper online price of Rs 536.

The much awaited book by Isaacson, former managing editor of Time magazine, contains 656 pages, with 16 pages of photo inserts. The global launch of the book Steve Jobs, an exclusive biography has been advanced to October 24, but Indians may be able to get hold of it only by the end of this month.

While the new biography tops the list of new releases across book stores, another book — The Steve Jobs Way by Jay Elliot and William L Simon — has been a best-seller.

Rajni Malhotra, an executive at Bahri Sons, said “readers want to read about Steve’s life and achievements after his death. So, books written on him are in demand.” As for the new biography, she said there was a steady increase in enquiries about it. At Crossword, Saket, in the capital, a manager pointed out Steve’s books had been selling at least two a day in the past one week. Central News Agency in Connaught Place stated there was an interest in everything about Steve Jobs, including his books. The same was the case at Om Book Shop in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.

The demand had gone up tremendously after Jobs' death, said Abhishek Kumar, chief operating officer, Apeejay Oxford Bookstores. “Lots of people are curious to know more about him and his life, so buying books on him gives them an inner view of his life," he said. “It is difficult to quantify, but definitely, there is a rise in demand for these books within stores and outside. There is a buzz around these books now,” a representative at a Mumbai outlet of Landmark said. He added there had been a lot of enquiries about the unauthorised biography to be published by Hachette India.

PM Shenvi, manager, Strand Book Stall, Fort, Mumbai, said there had always been demand for books on Jobs. "He is an icon. Books on him always sell very well," Shenvi said. This book store has already sold around 200 copies of his latest book 'The Steve Jobs Way' in the two months since it arrived, 10 per cent in the past three-four days.

According to a representative at Hyderabad’s Reliance TimeOut, a specialty store of Reliance Retail that offers books, music, stationery, toys and gifts, there is an increase in demand for the forthcoming biography titled ‘Steve Jobs’.

Kolkata’s bookstores have witnessed a marked spike in the sale of biographies and books related to Jobs and Apple. “We expect sales to increase further this week. Usually, interest following a person’s death lasts about a week and then starts to wane,” said Gautam Jatia, CEO of Starmark.

“Alas, he has no autobiography to his credit. This has disappointed many people who want to read more about how his mind worked,” lamented the manager of Sapna Book House in Gandhinagar, Bangalore's biggest bookshop chain.

“But, the book iCon: Steve Jobs is good enough and has enough information on him. It's like a biography," she added. Sapna has ordered 50 copies of the book. The current biographies are all out of stock.

With reporting inputs from Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai & Hyderabad

First Published: Wed, October 12 2011. 00:59 IST