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.
you’ve got me booked.
Crossword does give bookmarks..maybe you dropped in at a time when they had run out of stock. Also the bookmarks are kept on the cash counter and you have to labour on your own to pick them up, the cashier does not bother.
Good post. I was looking for information on book stores in Bangalore. This helps a lot.
Sapna is more of a Text Book House than a Book house. They have moved to a new place in Gandhinagar, but they at the best cater to students !!!!
Blossoms is still my favourite. Ealier it was like Select Book shop with an engineer grad running the show, all alone.
amazing… you know, I have been following your blog for almost a year now.. have read every post of yours, almost.. I am impressed, I have observed that what ever you do.. you do it with a passion.. the interest you show.. you are the best.. hats off..
here let me ask you something.. I already know your answer.. spl. after reading this post, I should.. but still, would you prefer to walk in to a book store and buy a book or would you like to browse online and order? say they deliver the order with in 30mins to 1hour..
actually I had the good fortune of going to Oxford when they had a HUUGE sale, and boy did I splurge! 😀 It is a nice place..
Very good post! You touched upon all the major ones – of course there are many “local” ones too 😉 – which are well-known only in that particular locality, and are much more approachable. (And if they don’t have a book, they will get it for you :))
I thought Sapna does have a fair number of non-textbooks too.
Personally, I think that Select book house is the best, if you are looking for treasure(i mean books, of course!) 😀
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I love it when I come across another book lover. Gangarams was a really good shop years ago. After the greetings and gifts section was introduced, I think it went downhill. I often visited Nagasri book store in Jayanagr complex when I was in Bangalore. Small shop, interesting books, friendly staff and like Shruthi says, if we asked for a book they did not have, they got it for us.
I don’t remember the name, but a bookstore in Malleshwaram was selling books really cheap. These were from American libraries etc. I have no idea how they got there. I managed to get books like Dave Barry’s novel, Raymond Carver’s short stories, Roddy Doyle’s novels. You’ll have to search a bit but it’s worth it.As far as big bookstores are concerned, I think Landmark is the best. The only problems being that you can’t sit somewhere with a book and they don’t give discounts.
Not to forget those book on sale on footpaths in every other area of Bangalore! 🙂
I think some book stores that cater to other segments (vernacular, Hindu philosophy, indology) need to be mentioned:
1. Vedanta book house – opp. Uma Talkies, 6th main road, Chamarajapet
3. Prism Book Store – Jayanagar
good post … but I think you missed Bookworm, a used book store, which has 2 outlets … one near Queens and another in the basement of the building with Talking Heads on Brigade Road … the guys knows about books and I have a habit of running into some long wanted items here
what about street book shops? have been to blossoms in bangalore, nice place. though my heart will always remain with the flora fountain book shops. happy reading.
Hi Anu, liked the way you write these articles on your blog.. I am more into fiction and poetry..
niiice article – for n expatriate Blorean likem e who longs for Blore everyday, this article brought back lots of fond memories of hours spent brwosing in bookstores:) , dashin off at the last minute to add another book to the collection and co-opting the shopowner – this only at premier – into convincing my mom/dad to buy me another recommended book. 🙂
Premier bookshop is my favourite bookshop of all time – the owner is very knowledgable, willingly enters into conspiracies to convince parents to buy books and also come up with really good suggestions about good books to read. Haven’t checked out Blossoms or the Landmark ( the one in Chennai is good, htough) – opened after my last visit to Blore. Here’s hoping I get to visit all of them soon!
Keep up the great work!
Thanks for your comments.
Another aspect of Premier’s Mr. Shanbhag is that he offers discounts to his regulars. Especially those who cannot resist the temptation of purchasing 2-3 books at a time during every visit. Apart from that, his store’s gift certificates are the prizes during the KQA quizzes.
I love Select too. It is like finding a treasure trove.
I haven’t found many street vendors a la Flora Fountain in Mumbai.
thanks for your comments! 🙂 and yes, your blog did bring up lots of fond memories -so thanks for those, too! well, i am only as much of a cricket fan as a few million others 😀 – and that was just one of the blogs i maintain! 😀
looking forward to more “Bangalore walks” 😀
I’m surprised that you liked the ambience at landmark! It IS huge, and the selction is good, but it’s like trying to buy books at a supermarket. Overcrowded, noisy – and that muzak…!
And why don’t bookstores hire people that LIKE books, not have to scurry to a computer everytime they’re asked something about one- I’ll sign up!
blossom’s my favourite.. though i am yet to visit some from your list.
anyways a good brief and extremely helpful review of book-shops
So happy with this post!
I used to escape from the dryness of business school to Select and Premier in the early 90s. Mr Murthy of Select recommended me a book by Stanley Burnshaw with translations from French, Spanish, European and German poetry. I am slowly learning the languages now, and live in Europe.
Not sure if there are many booksellers out there who can change people´s lives. I am very glad to find he and Select are still around.
Sorry Italian, not European, my bad.
You know I will so miss Premier. When I moved to Bangalore a few years ago, Higginbothams was my favourite, sunny and airy and peaceful, but it seems to be in shambles these days. Within a year or so, I was hooked to Premier. Stand was my favourite book store in Mumbai, but strangely Stand in Bangalore is not the same. I have been to Blossoms, rate it second after Premier. Then there is also Gangaram for good old legal books and LP (or something similar on MG road), been there a few times to pick an odd magazine or two. By the way, the magazine store near KC Das, Church st also rocks. I so wish Premier could be saved. I don’t think Mr. Shanbag has the energy to start anew all over again. I wish him the best.
There is Bangalore Book shop on 17th cross, Margosa Road, Malleswaram. This is a great place with a decent collection. They also run a shop inside the IISc campus – if technical books are what you looking for then the shop in IISc is probably the best choice.
I bought a rare book published by a London publisher . The book was written by Thomas Carlyl and the title is “On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History”. This was printed in London some time in 1900 or so.
I got it for 5 rupees. I am treasuring it.
Thanks a tonne for this discussion on bookstores in Bangalore. Being new to this city, it sure helped.
Oh! BTW, have you checked out Bookworm (off Brigade road)? I find it particularly interesting too. They ran around and got me the Snow Leopard (Peter M) which I couldn’t find anywhere else in Bangalore (the Strand Sale included)
That’s great that you have provided an Introduction to all the bookstores in Bangalore to all the new comers to this city….
Thanks a lot…..
Excelend work Keepit up. My Best Wishes. V.M.SIVADS
Excelend work Keepit up. My Best Wishes. V.M.SIVADS
good post for bookworms…
i like Sapna, their Jayanagar shop is small and less well stocked compared to their gandhi nagar shop. I got some really good books there, but one has to search real hard.
Got ‘To Sir with Love’ and ‘Darkness at noon’ there to be specific.
Nagasri needs to earn some manners. They were literally trying to get me out of the shop after 10 minutes of browsing. They better close and move off if this is the way they treat a customer not to mention the TV that was on max volume!!
Bookworm is the best used bookshop in Bangalore. they have good books and prices also less compare to Blossom. for all the new books you will get 20 to 30% discount also. Our entire Reading Group visit Bookworm in weekends. – Gagana
Hi, there is the question