It is a commonly understood notion that self-help books are the highest selling category of books in the business.
The self-help category is a wide category that spans such bestsellers as Canfield's "Chicken Soup For The Soul", "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" right down to instructional books like the "...For Dummies" series, pop-philosophy, pop-psychology, pop-religion, pop-health… the list seems bottomless and new titles replace old ones sometimes with the slightest twist in the tale.
According to some experts, Indians favour these books because much of what we read is predicated on the importance that Indians accord to how we live our lives and how we earn (more of) a living.
Talking to owners of bookstores, it’s clear that that the Bangalorean book buying habit is not different. While individual titles may become bestsellers, self-help books form the best selling category among all books.
Prakash Gangaram, owner of Gangaram's Book Bureau, the iconic Bangalore bookstore, told us that self-help books are the highest selling category of all. He also mentioned that textbooks account for a good portion of his sales. "It depends on the season. With the academic session starting again, a lot of school textbooks and college books determine the sales."
Gangaram maintained that sales of self-help books remain constant throughout the year. “This makes the self-help books the fastest selling category,” he reiterated.
Deepak Shah, Director of Sapna Book House said, “We sell a lot of children’s books. Fiction always tops the bestseller list. But sales of self-help books have been picking up.” Shah said that people attend job interviews ‘this time of year’ (around April) and typically this accounts for a spurt in sales of self-help books.
While Shah said that this category was seasonally strong, other bookstores said that self-help books sold round the year.
Farhad Pasha, manager of Crossword bookstore, said the young generation’s “lost hope” was the reason that self-help books sold. “I believe that teenagers today need to get some kind of comfort, and these self-help books provides that. Everything is changing and we need to keep up with these changes.” Pasha said a schoolteacher once asked if his bookstore had ‘good’ self-help books on dealing with children around the ages of ten to eighteen.
Mayi Gowda, proprietor of Blossoms bookstore, said many of his customers bought self-help books during Christmas. “They make good gifts,” he said.
Bookworm proprietor, Krishna, said within the genre of self-help books, New Age books—such as those that deal with spirituality and spiritual psychology—are currently trending. “New Age books are the new self-help books,” he said.
Mukesh Bhatt, manager of Oxford Bookstore, said self-help books sold right through the year. “We see spurts in sales only with fiction and non-fiction, whereas self-help books sell at any point to any customer”
Publishing houses seemed to agree. Rajan Das, Branch Manager of Rupa Publishing House, Bangalore, said, “Non-fiction certainly sells the best. Self-help books, according to me, fall under non-fiction and that includes subjects like management, religion, politics and so on."
Here is a list of the bestselling self-help books in different categories, at the time of this writing.
Self - Help:
From Smart to Wise – Prasad Kaipa & Navi Radjou. Jossey-Bass
Business Sutra – Devdutt Pattanaik. Aleph Book Company
The Power – Rhonda Byrne, Atria Books
One Minute Manager - Ken Blanchard, William Morrow Publishers.
The power of subconscious Mind - Dr. Joseph Murphy
You can heal your life - Louis L. hay
The power of intention - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
How to love your body and get the body you love - Yana Gupta
Spiritual Parenting - Gopika Kapoor