Saturday, October 10, 2009

The amazingly passionate book salesman in (probably) the world’s smallest bookshop!

“The power of your subconscious mind” by Joseph Murphy was a book I have been looking for all over the place. I phoned all the popular bookstores as well as the more obscure ones and came up with Zilch. Guess I have been looking in the wrong places. And I finally found it today in a place where one would least expect it.

If you walk about in Liberty Plaza you would see a little book store on the ground floor right in front of the uthum pethum card shop. I am being generous by calling it a shop. In fact it is more like a little book cupboard placed in an obstructive manner on the passageway. I have always admired and been amazed at the wide selection of reading material which seems to be overflowing from this cramped space. In fact there is only room for one man to stand which means every time a customer comes in the staff have to step out. This would have driven a normal salesman mad. But not Rohan the amicable owner as well as sales executive, book buyer and accountant rolled in one of Rohan’s book store Liberty Plaza.

Today the selection of books I saw in this space was more captivating than before. In fact it drove me wild with desire. Because virtually all the stuff I saw on his shelves I wanted on mine. He had such a wide variety of business books and autobiographies you might mistakenly think that it was a mini branch of Management Studio. I started talking to Rohan and found that he had a quite deep knowledge of books and authors quite unusual for a man from his background. And I do apologize for that statement. But you know what I mean. Anyway I thought I will put him to the test. And thought I will just ask for this book no one had and see what he would say. But damn it I had forgotten the complete title of the book. All I could remember was the phrase “Sub conscious mind”. The moment I mentioned this bit he knew the title as well as who wrote it and he smiled reached down and pulled it out from the quagmire of books and gave it to me with a broad smile on his lips. Seriously he did not even look he knew exactly where it was. I was dumb struck. I was in so much awe at that moment I could have knelt down and kissed his hand and worshipped him.

I wish I could have interviewed him and asked him his life story, But all I know is that Rohan Kannangara used to work at the KVGs (I think they had an outlet at LP long time back which closed down) before and then decided to start out on his own. I wish I could have asked him more. Like what made him take this bold step instead of But all I know is that he has a wife and a young son who is sitting for his A levels next year. And that his business consumes 99% of his time so he yearns for a holiday where he can spend some time with them. His biggest problem is the limited space he has.

It seems that he has done something right. And he has quite a loyal client list which includes me now. His specialty is autobiographies, business and books on Sri Lanka. But I did some great new books too including Dan Browns Lost Symbol as well as all four of Stephanie Meyers (author of Twilight) books. I also saw a great selection of John Grisham books as well. His prices are not cheap. They are on par with the other bigger chains or a bit more expensive. For instance a book I bought at Lake House Book shop in Liberty Plaza itself for 900 bucks a couple of weeks back was 1200 at Rohans. This means with his low overheads he is raking in the bucks. But his point of differentiation is service and knowledge. If you are looking for a book you should call Rohan on 0777961086 and see if he has it.

I think Rohan and his little book cupboard is an inspiration for us all.

1 comment:

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