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Monday, December 31, 2007

A tale of two bookstores - Crossword and Landmark

When I started as a serious 'serious book reader', I had only one resort - Crossword - to satiate my appetite for reading. I was young and I was relatively less knowledgeable about many things/subjects in life. The two things I had were curiosity and a past full of collecting magazines and story books. Wayne W. Dyer's "The Erroneous Zones", which I picked up from a second-hand roadside book reseller, got me initiated and from then I was regular at Crossword.

Starting with typical self-help-cum-psychology books I drifted towards reading more cross-disciplinary books. The more I read, the more I found Crossword inadequate for my tastes but I somehow managed to stay loyal until the time I went to Bangalore for some official work. I landed in Landmark for the first time and it definitely seemed to have more titles than Crossword. However, Landmark wasn't present in our town and that led me to look for books online. That's when I became a customer of fabmall.com (now called indiaplaza.in). And they've got some darn good business from me.

Tired of shopping (not really shopping, it's the waiting period) books online, I started visiting Crossword again. On a couple of occasions when I again didn't find the desired titles, I visited Landmark and bingo! I got the titles I was looking for. Yesterday again, I visited Landmark and got all the stationery and titles that I wanted but couldn't find in the local stores or Crossword.

Landmark is a category killer in books, stationery, music, toys and movies and certain gifting items. Crossword, though just a bookstore (at some stores stocks toys too) doesn't have the depth in its inventory. Looking at the store evolve all these years, it seems that Crossword just stocks the popular or run-of-the-mill bestsellers. Crossword is bent on increasing the number of its stores (it has a total of 45 stores nationwide) instead of the number of titles at its stores. Landmark on the other hand, has been relatively slow - it has only 9 stores nationwide - but stocks a great number of titles which makes it a great bookstore destination.

If the two bookstore brands keep to their strategies, Landmark will evolve to become the category-killer in books while Crossword will go on to be perceived as a corner bookstore with a collection of popular books. Who'll win? Landmark's depth in inventory will definitely appeal to amateurs (aspiring to build an image of serious reader) as well as bibliophiles (serious readers and book collecters). Any doubts? I don't have any.

Online Indian bookstores might outdo both. Search for the right book on amazon.com, then visit indiaplaza.in and order for the book; you'll get it cheaper.

1 comment:

Reema Sahay said...

Wow, that's exactly what I do! I also chanced upon indiaplaza.in and then there was no going back to the bookstores. I have also bought books from bsbazaar.com, flipkart.com, books.rediff.com, firstandsecond.com. I think online bookshopping is very convenient and cost-effective.