In India, shopping for books has always been thought of as a book-lover’s hobby. The traditional bookstores, with their dreary, dusty and browser-unfriendly atmosphere, have discouraged all but the serious book-buyers.
Crossword, positioned as a lifestyle bookstore, has been able to change this by designing large, spacious, well laid out stores, with bright cheerful interiors that encourage people to stay and browse. Simple innovations such as methodical classifications, clear signage, a dedicated enquiry /orders desk, electronic POS and inventory control systems and attractive displays make looking for books a much more pleasurable experience. A welcoming café, reading tables and chairs and toilets within the store, (some of the innovations pioneered by Crossword in India) help to ensure that customers are able to browse in comfort for several hours without having to leave.
Products and Services
Crossword also addresses a wider audience than existing stores with its unique product mix. There is of course, the widest range of books for the young and old alike, along with magazines, CD-ROMs, music, stationery and toys. With its large children’s section and its focus on making the store a friendly, safe, fun-filled place, Crossword attracts many families who normally don’t think of visiting bookstores. Services like Dial-a-book, Fax-a-book and Email-a-book enable customers to shop from their homes; and when they come to the store, the unobtrusively helpful staffs assist them in finding the right book, the right CD or the right gift for the right occasion. Facilities like the Crossword Gift Vouchers, the friendly ‘Return, Exchange & Refunds’ policy, the Cafes within the stores and the unique store experience make it easy and enjoyable for customers to shop at Crossword. Over 3 lacs loyal customers are rewarded through the Crossword Book Rewards Program with points, discounts, promotional offers and more. ‘eWords’, a monthly e-newsletter with reviews of new books, news about in store events and bestseller lists, is currently mailed to these Members.
Crossword aims to be a point of cultural and social interaction where authors and poets hold court, where children are regaled, where people gravitate to be informed, to be entertained, even enlightened. There are regular readings, discussions and debates on varied subjects from literature and art to child sexual abuse, war and peace, business and management, travel, parenting and health.
Among the numerous writers who have visited the store are Sir V S Naipaul, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Chandra, Vikram Seth, Kiran Nagarkar, Kiran Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor, Shobhaa De, Charles Handy, Ricardo Semler and Jack Canfield. Crossword bookstores also promote the reading habit among children with a weekly activity every Sunday morning across various stores.
Crossword launched the Crossword Book Award in 1998 to recognise and reward the best of Indian writing. This is currently into its 10th year with prize money of 3 lakhs for each category and 1 lakh for Popular Award Category.
Recognition for Crossword Bookstores
Since its inception in 15th October 1992, Crossword has received wide recognition for its achievements; articles on retailing in India invariably feature Crossword. It has been featured in Advertising Age International, USA, as one of the Marketing Superstars for 1994. The Bookseller, UK, has also described it as ‘being on the cutting edge of retailing’ in India.
Crossword was ranked the 6th most admired retailer in India by Business world for the year 2006; it was the only book retailer in the top 10.
Crossword won the Reid & Taylor Award for Best Retailer of the year – Leisure & Specialty at the India Retail Summit 2005 & 2007 & 2009.
Crossword won the Retailer of the Year Award - Leisure (Books, Music and Gifts Category) at the Images Retail Awards 2005 & 2007 & 2010.
Crossword received the Federation of Indian Publishers Award for excellence in Publishing for the year 2004 on 18th June 2005 at the hands of Shri Arjun Singh, Minister of Human Resource Development.
Crossword Bookstores Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary Company of Shoppers Stop Ltd – India’s leading department store chain.
The Crossword Chain:
Crossword, with Eighty Three stores, across Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bengalooru, Chennai, Delhi, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kota, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Udaipur, Vadodara, Vapi & Vijaywada as on today is India’s fastest growing chain of bookstores.