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Men who matter


Sunil Nevatia

He dreams of making this city the hub of bibliophiles in the country by constructing the biggest bookstore in Asia. And when he says so, he confirms his statement by averring, "I mean bookstore, do not mix it up with library."

That is Sunil Nevatia the man behind the city's largest bookshop, Jyoti Book Depot, located in Dabagardens.

Hailing from a Marwari business family from Kolkata, he migrated to this city along with his family members in the 1970s. "Wherever I am, this city would always be close to my heart as I spent a major part of life so far here," says the 35-year-old Sunil, who has opened the depot's branches in New Delhi, Raipur, Bhubaneswar and Vijayawada.

Though his family had been in the business of printing, stationery and books, he preferred to develop the bookstore soon after his graduation.

What made him choose the books?

"During my school and college days I noticed that there was a gross shortage of textbooks, leave alone books of general interest. This factor coupled with my love for books prompted me to open and develop a bookstore. So the seed of owning a big bookshop was sown right from my schooling days and that later germinated to Jyoti Book Depot in 1986."

But why Visakhapatnam?

"Why not? I could have chosen any big city like Kolkata, Hyderabad or New Delhi to set up my shop, but I decided to convert the disadvantages of this city to my advantage."

How is that?

"This city is primarily at a disadvantage geographically. But if one considers the fact that within a radius of 700 km. this is the only city that caters for the requirement of a vast populace. I utilised this factor to the hilt. Today Jyoti Book Depot is not only a household name in this city but also in cities like Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada and Raipur."

Talking about the present market trends, Sunil says: "Tourism is on the boom at present and one has to capitalise on this trend. My life time ambition is to see that this city becomes famous for its tourism potential and my dream bookshop that I plan to open in the coming years."

To realise his cherished dream he is on the look-out for a big space where he could build a bookstore or rather a book mall with value additions like Internet cafe and food courts.

On his present bookstore that is large enough by any standards, he says, "I agree that ours is a big store. But basically we cater for essential items only at present. I want to build a store where we should be able to deliver any book that the customer asks for." His deadline for reaslising the dream is 2010.

Book reading as a habit is receding, but then "good things are bound to return and stay" he says optimistically. "What we are experiencing now is only the trend of a cycle. There is a significant sign of not only the old book readers becoming active but induction of new young readers in the system. And they are going to stay as television entertainment is only a passing fad."

Sunil attributes the phenomenal success of his sotre to "my family and my 50 staffers who have been the source of my strength".

S.B.

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