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Book dealers reveal impact of COVID-19 on prices of writing materials


– Writing exam this period is not an easy task as it is characterized with one striving for success, at the same time staying safe

– As the students and pupils study hard to pass their exams this period, there are essential writing materials whose prices have increased a bit

– Legit.ng visited the market to confirm from bookshop and stationery dealers the cost price of essential writing materials before the pandemic and now

– Interestingly, their cost of purchase increased to a reasonable level while sales is still at a gradual level, the traders informed

Virtual learning has affected businesses to a large extent, the bookshop owners decry. Photo credit: Esther Odili

Virtual learning has affected businesses to a large extent, the bookshop owners decry. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Students and pupils in exit class this week began their final year exams and this has been characterized with reactions both far and near. While some argue over the safety of the student and pupils, others are worried of the success of the students who began their exams in such a short notice.

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Meanwhile, the students are busy studying hard to sit for their exams each day, they are also advised to stay safe following strict measures put in place by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But in achieving success, there are basic items students’ needs and one of such is essential writing materials. Legit.ng visited a market in Lagos this week, to confirm from bookshop owners and stationery dealers the cost price of essential writing materials before the pandemic and now.

Running an effective workshop this period in the country and around the world is a challenge as the cost of materials used in manufacturing the items has increased leading to the increment in the cost of their purchase affecting supplies as well because these writing materials make studying an easy task.

There are supplies that can keep the business afloat, one that would be of benefit to the students and pupils and there are some that frustrate ones efforts as a business owner; this are what we are going to confirm from traders in this article.

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The students who cannot afford the new textbooks opt for old ones that are similar and are quite affordable. Photo credit: Esther Odili

The students who cannot afford the new textbooks opt for old ones that are similar and are quite affordable. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

A bookshop owner at a market in Lagos, in a chat with Legit.ng gave a detailed explanation of the cost price of writing materials before the pandemic and now.

The trader who was dissatisfied with the effect of the pandemic on his business in recent times said: “Business has been facing difficulty and traders facing tough times due to the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. There was no way we could run it smoothly as the students and pupils who were our customers were at home; as they had to make use of their old materials to study online at home. Another way we make sales is books like Christian and Islamic materials we sell to religious leaders in various worship centres who patronize us daily but couldn’t do so due to the lockdown. So the past few months, we were not finding survival to be an easy one but now it is a different thing entirely.

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“The cost price of the items increased to an extent but we sell ours at wholesale prices and offer discount to some buyers who are loyal customers and are buying to resell too. Sales started on a gradual pace this period due to the reopening of worship centres and the resumption of students and pupils in exit classes for their final year exams. Also, when e are short of items in the shop, it affects sales but we experience such due to the effect of the pandemic, as we can only get enough goods when we have enough cash.

“The cost price of writing materials especially books and textbooks increased but not too much even before the pandemic but it soars further during the pandemic. Their cost price varies across various markets in the state. So, it will be offered at a reasonable amount in some location and at expensive amount in other locations; this is due to the increased production cost, hike in transportation fares, border closure and short supply.”

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“Now, Christian or Islamic books are sold from N1,500 upwards depending on the size of the book and content page as well. We sell small sized dictionary depending on the size from N500, N1,500, N2,500 upwards, a dozen of exercise books from N1,400 for 60 leaves, a dozen of 40 leaves for N1000 and 80 leaves is sold from N300 and N400 upwards. But, these prices depend on the brand that manufactured the books because, the books of popular and quality brands are very expensive while the ones that are not that popular or of good quality, are less and not expensive.”

Interestingly, in some shops, you can get past questions at affordable price and in other shops, they are sold at an expensive rate. Photo credit: Esther Odili

Interestingly, in some shops, you can get past questions at affordable price and in other shops, they are sold at an expensive rate. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Another trader, who sells writing materials like pen, ruler and books like text books, past questions, motivational books to mention but a few stated that e-learning mode has affected business. Adding that, the students make use of materials online than hard copies.

“Following the method adopted by the experts for student to be learning online, this affected our business to an extent because e-learning materials are used now used than hard copies as some prefer them to the hard copies; they believed they are affordable, convenient to use and safe for students and pupils from contacting the virus.

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“We are making sales and it is a good one now following the on-going exams. The student who are studying, in the process would need to get a lot of materials so they can excel in their exams. But there is a twist to their mode of study; some student prefers to study using online materials and this is way more affordable for them and the ones who don’t have need for such, patronize us.

“The cost price of stationery depends; some that have more items are expensive while the ones that have fewer items are affordable. Mathematical sets are sold from N400, N500, N1,000 and N1,400 upwards. For quality pencils that are in set, they are sold from N400 and N500 upwards depending on the market visited and the pieces included in the set. For pen, depending on the brand, 50 pieces in a container are sold from N1,200, N1,300 and N1,500 upwards in wholesale prices as against its old price of N1,000.

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“For past questions, depending on the year and the type; they are sold from N500 upwards and some persons sell theirs from N1,000 upwards. This period, we sell more of writing materials than past questions because some students have purchased these items before the pandemic in preparation for the exams and others collect from friends, relatives and families. So this is the more reason why we don’t make good sales this period,” The seller disclosed.

Stationery dealers lament poor sales and high cost of living in recent times. Photo credit: Esther Odili

Stationery dealers lament poor sales and high cost of living in recent times. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

With the current economic situation in the country, purchasing educational package depends on the different social class. This was the view of a book seller at the market, who said the more money one has, the higher your chances of getting a quality educational package.

She said: “Before the coronavirus pandemic, we were lamenting of increment in the cost of purchase due to the economy but this pandemic changed a lot in the country and the economy situation is very poor. Everything is done virtually and this in turn affects our business as we sell hard copies than soft copies but more people shop for E-books now.

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“Now, apart from student purchasing story books and other educational books for personal development, the ones writing exams can only make use of the educational package their parents or guardian could afford. The ones whose parent are well to do financially purchase quality writing materials more and the ones that are of the average level, opt for the materials that although are durable but are affordable. This is how and what determines the extent of how we make sales and record profit this period in the market.”

The items increased by five percent as informed by sellers at the market. Photo credit: Esther Odili

The items increased by five percent as informed by sellers at the market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Most traders in the country lament high cost of running business now occasioned by the impact of COVID-19 in the country. As some lament over job losses of their customers, others complain of crippling businesses in the country and high cost of running business now. A bookshop dealer at the market informed of how the recent market condition has affected his business in general.

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“We are really struggling and yes we are making sales but it is not enough to cover up our daily expenses because some of us have one or two staffs who assist us in the shop. We spend more than we make daily because the cost of living is higher now, as some of our loyal customers are finding it difficult to purchase books or stationery set; this is affecting the profit margin on a daily basis.

“Everything in the market is expensive and the goods we sell too. Some of the students don’t really have option than to buy these items. Some of the books that are sold in some shops are not original and the original ones are very expensive hence students who have this understanding patronize some of us that sell quality items.

“Books are of great value to the success of the students and pupils. Some of the books that are sold now depend on the shop one visit and the sellers’ choice. Branded mathematical sets are sold from N1,500, N2,000, N2,500 and N3,000 upwards. Also, the size of the books and the cover also determines how affordable it is. Story books are sold from N350, N500, N1,000, N1,500 and N2,500 upwards while the cost price of past question depends on the subjects and course; some are sold from N700, N800 and others from N900 and N1,000.

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“For regular pencils, a dozen are sold from N150 and N250 upwards. While for pen, depending on the maker, a branded pen can be purchased from N50, N60, N70, and N80 upwards. Twelve pieces (a dozen) of 60 leaves exercise books are sold from N1,200 upwards while five pieces of higher education notes, 80 leaves are sold from N1,400 and N1,500 upwards respectively as the pack contains five pieces and for 12 pieces of 40 leaves, they are sold from N800, N900 and N1,000,” The trader told Legit.ng.

For a trader who sell all types of writing materials like file folders, Bible, exercise books, pen, pencil, ruler, mathematical sets of various sorts, board and more, the cost price of these items is still at a reasonable rate and the cost of purchase increased by just five percent.

Bookshop owners revealed the pandemic inflated the cost price of the items. Photo credit: Esther Odili

Bookshop owners revealed the pandemic inflated the cost price of the items. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

The mother of two at the market, attributed the slight increment in the cost of purchase to the coronavirus pandemic; according to her, the crisis affected not only the purchasing power of buyers but the financial status of most traders in the market, adding that some traders sell some of the items at a reduced price and also sell non-stationery items so as to get petty cash for survival.

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The trader informed: “The cost price of the goods is at a minimal level, it increased a bit and the cost of purchase depends solely on the brand that manufacture the item and the market visited as most of the items are purchased from China. At some market, you can get the items at a wholesale price while others at a retail price.

“The cost price of quality mathematical sets ranges from N1,500 upwards. For books, we have some that are old they are termed as fairly used ones; these ones are usually displayed on the floor for fast sales and others on the shelf that are new ones, are expensive; the cover and the paper used makes the difference. But in order to survive, some traders sell below their cost price so they can have cash to feed.

“I purchased my goods at wholesale prices and I purchase a carton of 60 leaves exercise book for N10,800, a carton of 40 leaves exercise book at N10,000 while a carton of 80 leaver exercise book for N11,200. A pack of envelope that is 25 pieces cost N250 upwards as against its old price of N150. While the board that are used for training, seminar and extra-coaching depending on the size ranges from N2,000, N2,800 and N3,000 upwards. Holy-Bible are sold from N1,000, N1,200 and N1,500 and N2,500 upwards. A pack of pens cost N1,200 as against its old price of N1,000 and N800. For past questions; they are sold from N400 and N500 upwards, this depends on the content.

“We have other stationery sets like the ruler sets, the sharpeners, stationery wallet, geometric set, that are sold from 600, N700, N700, N800, N1,000 and N3,000 upwards depending on your cash in hand. Also, scientific calculators are sold from N1, 500 upwards and ordinary ones are sold from N700 upwards. With the continuous fight against COVID-19, we pray for the safety of the students and also our loyal customers, because coronavirus is real. Presently, sales are picking up gradually but we are not making enough sales daily as expected yet we are hopeful of better sales ahead.”

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