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Nigel Khan: T&T’s reading culture has changed
Judging from the 250,000 paying customers at his stores last year, Nigel R Khan believes the T&T reading culture has developed. “We have serviced 250,000 customers in the past year at our 13 branches,” Khan said during a recent staff appreciation dinner at The Normandie in St Ann’s.
“...and this tells me that the reading culture in this country has definitely changed. In an era of electronic gadgets, we still have a quarter-million people coming through our doors. Mind you, this does not only represent the people who came to get schoolbooks. We, as an 11-year-old company, only decided to get into ‘back-to-school’ books three years ago; but even before this, we were seeing an increasing trend of people wanting the printed word.”
Khan decided to go into bookselling 11 years ago during a downturn in the economy. He said, “Friends were telling me that I am mad to get into the book-selling business at this time. I told myself that I had a contribution to make in terms of getting people to read; and I was going to throw my ambition out to the universe and see what it brings back to me. “Today, I feel very proud indeed to report that people are constantly coming to our stores, looking to feed that hunger for reading.”
Nigel R Khan Booksellers was officially opened on February 14, 2003. “My first store was opened on Valentine’s Day at the Price Plaza in Chaguanas. This was deliberately done, as it was a love that I had to get more people to read; and what better day to start than Valentine’s Day?
“When we flung open our doors, we were not selling schoolbooks. We were selling all the top novels; and we had the latest ones. What I noticed at the time was that the booksellers in this country were activating their bookstores for periods of the year. At other times, they were either selling stationery or toys to keep their business going. “With the backing of my family, I decided to make that bold step and make bookselling a year-round thing, where people can get all the latest publications in whatever field they choose.
“Without them (my family), I would not have been able to go out there and bring this bold idea to fruition.” Khan was also full of praise for his staff.