Premier Book Shop (PBS): Tucked away in a little lane, parallel to Brigade Road and located next to the NightWatchman (between MG Road and Church Street), this is the pocket version of bibliophile’s paradise. The owner is a genial, bald, fair gentleman who is extremely sweet. And PBS has been around since I was a kid and began reading. I bought some of my first books from here, when I realized that he gave away discounts of atleast 10%, unlike another large book shop for which my school used to give coupons for. The shop is a bare bones place and has columns of books stacked higher than 6 feet in all corners. There’s just enough space for one person to walk in the two aisles. You cannot pick most books by yourself, unless you have two men in catching positions. But then, there are only so many advantages of running a fabulous bookshop with such classics in such a prime location with such little space. The quality of the books more than makes up for the rather cramped décor. It has a lot of old books that you can pick for a killing. For example, I picked Oscar and Lucinda above for Rs 100! Once, when I was a school kid and found a book which was priced at around Rs 200, even after some 15% discount (since I was a student!) I walked up to the good old man and told him that I had no money for the bus. He gave me a further discount to ensure that I could get home happily. And in those days I didn’t even have a wallet! So how can one not love this place?! Contact:91-80-25091220 for the latest Harry Potter at Rs 640 amongst other things on July 16th.
Blossom (B): Located within a stone’s throw of PBS is B, the newest kid on the block, run by an engineer turned bookseller, Mayigowda, who’s been profiled in the newspapers. Blossom has an astonishing number of good books which are arranged in the order of first names of the authors.However if you know the name of the author, the resourceful ladies will find all the books by the author in an instant, but they can’t recommend perhaps. The USP of the place is the price of the books. Almost all books are priced at around Rs 100-150. So you can get fantastic deals. They do sell new books also. The range of books is extremely tempting and can ruin someone with a light pocket like yours truly. They have a separate section of classics in addition to popular fiction and a section of books by Indian authors (which seems to be a trend these days in some of the upmarket bookshops). Contact: 91-80-25320400
Strand Book Shop: Before the days of Landmark and Crossword, this was the most sophisticated bookshop in
Bookworm: This is another bookshop which is run by someone who has about 80000 books at home since he doesn’t have space in the shop. The books were stacked in separate shelves according to whether they were classics, award winners etc, until the owner had this insane notion that they need to be rearranged. This is part of the Shringar Complex, which is a circular lane of shops on the left - just before Barton Centre when you are walking from the
By the way, here’s a new term ‘Indian paperbacks’ - a euphemism for pirate editions of popular books sold by someone whose roadside stall is very close to BW.
Nagasri Book Shop: This is located in the Jayanagar 4th block Complex and is the only bookshop worth its name in the south of
Landmark: Landmark is so humongous that it can easily overwhelm someone on his first visit. It has every kind of book, though not always the best books. You could be more likely to find Dan Brown’s volumes rather than Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451! The sheer scale is awesome and there is the benefit of the computer with a search facility, although on occasions that I have been to Landmark in the recent past, it has been running some other search or is down. There is also the benefit of a large number of service staff, although the number of footfalls makes you fend for yourself. The enormity of the number of books should ensure that you should get what you are looking for 9 times out of 10. And the plastic carry bags they pack your books in have nice trivia on them. www.landmarkonthnet.com
Crossword:Crossword has a store that is smaller in comparison to Landmark although it must be the second largest in Bangalore and has a nice airy feel to it. And unlike Landmark, there are less number of people and more places to sit and read books. I know friends who just go there and read entire books on the weekend! It also has a café run by a popular chain. How I wish it had been a Barista like at the Ahmedabad outlet. And the search facility works well although popularity seems to guide the selection rather than quality, here too. So don’t be disappointed if the frequent result is “Not Found.” And any bookshop with a coffeeshop is worth a visit if you ask me. And they have a free home delivery, which must be a first in
To be fair, I guess one can’t make money with such large stalls without the numbers.
As an aside, I am surprised that Amazon is yet to start Indian operations. One would expect that it made sound business sense in the country whose population is supposed to be the most voracious in the world, in addition to having the most number of illiterates! Years ago, I wrote to them asking whether they would deliver in
A nice touch at Crossword is the free bookmarks that they give out with witty quotes on books, including one by Groucho Marx, “Outside of a dog, a book is man;s best friend. Inside of a dog, its too dark to read!”