Tarun Kumar Shaw has been delivering books to people’s doorsteps for three decades on his scooter and will bring you any book you ask for and sometimes more, writes Neha Pant
Long before flipkart and amazon, there was a bookseller in Kolkata, Gopal Das Shaw, who had the novel idea of delivering, books to people’s doorsteps. This was 35 years ago and the shop was Dey and Brothers in New Market. Today, his son, 54-year-old Tarun Kumar Shaw, continues to carry the tradition of hand delivering books forward. Tarun, who runs the bookshop with his brother, Utsav Kumar Shaw boasts of an impressive clientele of around 800 people. He says he loves challenges and loves to deliver books to people on his scooter, including books that are banned. “Even when Satanic Verses was banned, I got several copies of the book. It took time, but I did it,” he said in an interview.
The USP of the Shaw business lies in its inter-personal relationships. Tarun, who is fondly known as Tarun da in Kolkata has amassed a loyal clientele based on his personal relationship with his readers and enjoys the patronage of some of the biggest business families of the cities, media houses and its editors. People seem to trust him. “The whole business worked on trust, familiarity. People see my face and I put my personal equity out there every day over the past 30 years. We hired a couple of people to deliver newspapers, magazines, but not the books. That is special. It had to be me delivering them to those who waited for them. And it ends with me,” he says.
The Shaw’s majorly deal in books that are pre-ordered and their customer’s often request material that is not available in India. Since he has excellent connections with international publishers, he will help procure these books for you. Sometimes he might charge you a nominal fee for the extra effort, but it’s always worth the trouble he’s been through to get you that perfect copy. Since he spends time getting to know his customers, he often takes more books for the person to choose from than the one they ordered, more often than not, they end up picking a few.
He also doesn’t believe in taking any advance because he believes in ‘working in good faith’ and says that his bookstore has survived because in a place such as Kolkata, despite the many traps of modernisation, people are still hooked to reading.
To order a book, get in touch with Shaw at 9831201402 between 11 am and 8 pm