Explore Book stores in Bangalore
On a long weekend, the whole Bangalore rush shifts out of Bangalore and fills all possible resorts, that fall within the drivable distance, and that to me looks like the best time to spend in Bangalore, you get parking wherever you go and there is walking space on all major roads. Labour Day long weekend was one such weekend, and I decided to go around and visit few Book Stores in Bangalore, as I was looking for some books.
I started my day long exploration with Select Book Shop, which is off Brigade Road and I came to know if it during the Bangalore walk that I took week prior to that. It’s an old book shop that deals in used books and has three small areas studded with books, mostly old books. The owner manages the book store himself and has a good knowledge of books, you would enjoy a conversation with him, and he would do everything to help you out to find out the right books. I picked up a couple of books from there and left my details for the other books that I wanted. You should visit this store to have a feel of for the ‘Love for the books’, and a absolute serenity while browsing books, while you are right in the middle of the city.
Next came the Blossoms on the Church Street and for some strange reason I had never been to this book store in all these years that I have been living in Bangalore. Its probably one of the largest book stores in Bangalore, may be after Landmark and Sapna, spread in 3 floors with a fair mix of new and old books. Though the collection is good, the atmosphere is not what you would enjoy there. There are so many helpers who would either keep asking you if they can help you, or would be creating a lot of noise chatting with each other. None of which lets you browse books at your own pace and with peace. You can visit this store if you have a list of books that you want to pick up, walk there, pick up and come back.
There is another book store called English on Church Street, where you will get the cheap editions of most of the classics and popular works. Not a very big store, not very well organized, it gives a ‘care a damn’ attitude, the books are lying around and you can find your own way, find your own books and go to the counter when you are done.
Premier Book Shop on Museum Road, as always is a delight to visit, and this time literally everyone in the shop was asking the owner, please do not move away from here, as the lease for that book shop expires soon. There were a lot of people who wanted him to shift to their areas, just in case he has to shift. I am sure this book shop is the most loved book shop in Bangalore, while there is hardly any space for you to stand there. There are layers and layers of books and as you remove a book from one layer you see few layers behind that layer. At times it feels it will all come down and you will find yourself in the middle of a heap of books. Not a bad feeling for bibliophiles.
Strand in Manipal Center is the place where you get maximum discount on books. Their annual sale in December is the best time to pick up all the books for the rest of the year, specially if you are looking for bestsellers, coffee table books, illustrated editions and reference books, they come dirt cheap. I particularly do not enjoy browsing books there, but with their extension counter in my office, I end up buying most of my books from them, both for convenience and the discount.
Best places to browse books in style are Landmark at Forum Mall and Crossword on Residency Road. Both these book shops have huge space, great ambience and well organized books; you can browse books by category. These are good places to discover new books, but you get absolutely no discount. Oxford Book store at Leela would fall under the same category, with an added advantage of a fine tea shop to sit and browse books over a cup of tea. Shankar’s at Airport is also well stocked and gets lots of dedicated time of the customers’, courtesy all the flight delays and wait time that people have there.
I am yet to visit Sapna Book store, have only visited their Jayanagar store, which was more like text book store with some books. I believe Malleshwaram also has a few good book stores, may be would explore them one day. There are other book stores like Higgin Bothoms, Gangarams on MG road, which are probably the most popular book stores, but I think it is only because of their being in the right location. To me they do not carry the right feel for the book store, when you walk in to those shops there ate tons of people moving in and out, just like they would stroll on the road outside.
Most of the biggest malls in the city, except Forum have almost no book shops, or have corner shops that act as book shops. What I miss in Book stores in Bangalore, is the Book Marks that every other book shop in Delhi used to give, with some nice quotes on it. I tried suggesting it to all the book shops, but as they are managed by the employees, they are hardly interested in listening. Though I am trying my best to influence Strand at least, as I keep visiting them almost every day…