Explore Bookstores 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. 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. I decided to go around and visit few Bookstores in Bangalore, as I was looking for some books.
I started my day-long exploration with Select Bookshop, which is off Brigade Road. I came to know of it during the Bangalore walk that I took week prior to that. It’s an old bookshop that deals in used books and has three small areas studded with books, mostly old books. The owner manages the bookstore himself and has a good knowledge of books. You would enjoy a conversation with him. 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 an absolute serenity while browsing books, while you are right in the middle of the city.
Next came the Blossoms on the Church Street. For some strange reason, I had never been to this bookstore in all these years that I have been living in Bangalore. It’s probably one of the largest bookstores in Bangalore. Maybe after Landmark and Sapna spread over 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 bookstore 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 Bookshop on Museum Road, as always is a delight to visit. This time literally everyone in the shop was asking the owner, please do not move away from here, as the lease for that bookshop 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 bookshop is the most loved bookshop in Bangalore, while there is hardly any space for you to stand there. There are layers and layers of books. As you remove a book from one layer you see few layers behind that layer. At times it feels like 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. Especially 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 Bookstores in Bangalore
Best places to browse books in style are Landmark at Forum Mall and Crossword on Residency Road. Both these bookshops have huge space, great ambiance, 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 Bookstore 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 Bookstore, have only visited their Jayanagar store, which was more like a textbook store with some books. I believe Malleshwaram also has a few good bookstores, maybe would explore them one day. There are other bookstores like Higgin Bothoms, Gangarams on MG road, which are probably the most popular bookstores. 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 bookstore when you walk into those shops. There are 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 bookshops or have corner shops that act as bookshops. What I miss in Bookstores in Bangalore, is the BookMarks that every other bookshop in Delhi used to give, with some nice quotes on it. I tried suggesting it to all the bookshops. 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…
Recommend you read following travel blog on places to visit in Bangalore.