KATHMANDU, April 21: While parents who purchase text books for their children from bookstores receive up to 15 percent discount on their purchase, they do not get it if their children are studying in schools where books are provided by the school itself or by the bookstores recommended by the school.
Both traders and parents claim that schools that provide books to their students or send them to particular bookstore do not give any discount on the books.
“We did not receive any discount on textbooks while purchasing from the store recommended by the school, whereas we could have at least received some discounts if we had purchased from any other bookstore across the valley. While news of inflated prices on textbooks has been a hot topic in the Nepali media since a few years, it raises suspicions for us parents as the school staffers themselves are present in the stores,” stated Sumitra Shrestha, a parent of a student at Ideal Model School, Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur.
Adding up to her mother’s statement, 13-year-old Shreya Shrestha said: “The school makes us purchase books which end up being never used during the academic year. The Buzzword English Book and novels that the school had made us purchase in the last academic year is as good as new as it was never used.”
Shrestha’s statement makes it clear that schools have been making students purchase books that are not only out of curriculum, but also making parents spend additional money at a time of the year when parents are already at financial stress coping up with the admission, security deposit and book expenses in addition to the regular monthly dues.
A former student of LRI School, Kalanki, Kathmandu, requesting anonymity, told Republica that this trend of schools or school-recommended stores not providing discounts has been taking place for many years. “The school used to recommend us to purchase books from PP Book Store, Kalanki. We never received any discount on our purchase. Now as I scan prices across the capital, I have realized that I was being cheated upon as I see heavy discounts being granted by other stores.”
Traders also second to the claim of parents. “We have been giving up to 15 percent discount to customers on textbooks. Although this is less than what we used to give in the past academic years by at least 5 percent, schools who provide books and stationary to the students themselves or ask parents to collect these items from a school-recommended store receive no or very limited discount,” said Raju Bista of Manakamana Books, Bhotahiti, Kathmandu.
Most traders agree that between 30 and 40 percent of schools are providing books on their own by billing parents, the price of undiscounted books adding on the school fees. Few traders also claimed that the market price of books have been inflated by publishers by more than two folds. Speaking with Republica, Ayastha Adhikari, a book seller at Bhotahiti, stated: “A majority of profit in books is consumed by organizations such as PABSON and N-PABSON as publications provide funds for these organizations for influencing affiliated schools to pick the books published by the publisher. Likewise, a bulk of the profit also goes to school authorities in addition to the middle men who influence school authorities to pick the book while we traders are having a hard time sustaining with just 5 percent profit.”
Another trader, from Heritage Publisher and Distributor, Bhotahiti added: “The discount rate on books has also declined from last year. Previously, we got 25 to 30 percent margin and thus sold books for up to 20 percent discount. However, now publishers only keep 20 percent margin, so we have to sell giving only a maximum of 15 percent discount.”