Bangalore is a young city of working class people and student. There are corporate professionals,lawyers and students, lacs of them and these all people love to read. There are not only hundreds of private companies big and small but also thousands of colleges where young students from all across India pursue their studies,dreams and hope. No wonder Bangalore is the reading hub of India and the city iconic bookstores have a role to play here. In Spite of Amazon which is the prime seller of books today Bangalore bookstore buzz with hundreds of readers everyday especially on Church Street which can easily be called pilgrim trail of a book lover.
Church Street may not have the upmarket elegance of Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda, the swag of Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village, or the old-world charm of Kolkata’s Park Street, but it has books lacs of them new and old rare and mass. Tourists and visitors to the city seek it out the way they do Mumbai’s Flora Fountain, Kolkata’s College Street, or Delhi’s Daryaganj.
In fact a survey conducted by Amazon India for the year 2017 placed Bengaluru ahead of Mumbai and Delhi as India’s most well-read city. The absolute gems of the city bookstores,these top five Bengaluru bookstores are treat for a bibliophile. Being an author I recently got an opportunity to visit these iconic bookstores new and old in Bangalore city for book signing of my latest book Love Story of a Commando published by Westland publishers. In Spite of being an Amazon initiative Westland maintains a good national distribution of paperback books all across the bookstores in India and does not only rely on online selling of published books. In Bengaluru when I visited five best bookstores of the city I was totally in awe with these bookshops which you must visit atleast once,book lover or not.
These bookstores hold inside themselves just not the books but also history,culture,literature and revolution.
Blossom Book house
The iconic bookstore in Bangalore Church street at MG road which is also one of the main commercial areas of the city is overwhelming at first. It can simply be termed as a Bibliophile Mecca.You name a book that gripped your imagination for years and you find it here stacked strategically in hundreds of wrought iron book shelves across this humongous book store. Any Day of the week you find hundreds of book lovers and readers in the book store. Blossom book house is a treasure trove of books where they not only sell old,used and rare book but also they have a seperate section of comics. A coffee at the legendary Koshy’s fuels you for the mystical world of Blossom Book house. Three floors of it, arranged by old , new, authors and genre at prices that are
U N B E L I E V A B L E in this day and age. We all should thank the founder of Blossom book house Mayi Gowda who started this legendary bookstore in 2002 after selling books on MG road pavement for creating
a book store which just not aid to the memory but also makes an experience of a lifetime.
I appeal to all the book lovers and authors in India to visit Blossom book house at least once in their lives.
Opposite Starbucks Cafe at church street in MG road you will find books laid out in open over cemented racks just outside one of the best bookstores in Bengaluru. A whole good lane of it which guides you straight into the bookshop.
The Bookworm founded by owner Krishna is known for its unique crediting system where a reader can borrow a book for half the book’s price and swap it for another after reading it.
When I visited the store for book signing I found the owner busy showing books to customers. there were a few elderly uncles one of them from Mysore was buying books,he discussed books with me recommended a book on mutiny and another one on Urmila once he knew I was a writer which Krishna ji produced within minutes before me. There was another girl rummaging for a poetry book and another one looking for a travel guide. Bookworm also has a huge collection of used,second hand and rare books available at great discount. A reader’s paradise truly and a must visit bookstore not just in Bengaluru but also in India.
GANGARAM BOOK BUREAU
Carefully arranged bookstore is a complete contrast to the narrow aisles and randomly stacked piles of books of the other members of this list.
With an complete outlook similar to modern Indian and international bookstore chains in India like Crossword,Oxford bookstores and Landmark Gangaram book bureau is a family run business with a rich history since 1965.
I could even spot a counter of self publishers Notion press there and also academic books. The owner Prakash Gangaram ji was present and we cracked a good conversation around books. Then he happily clicked pictures with me and with promises to come back where my book love story of a commando was kept along with bestsellers I left this lovely bookstore at Church street.
Bookhive is a new name among high priests of bengaluru book street. The newest entrant in the bookstore world is an important point on the pilgrim trail of Church Street for any bibliophile .A few doors down from Bookworm, you can now find The Bookhive a brand, new bookstore that specialises in second-hand books. You can find rare copies of Dante rubbing shoulders with other classic doyens from Tolstoy to Dickens.The store stocks all the latest best sellers as well. You can pick up brand, new editions of everything from Ramachandra Guha to 30,000 years of Art and Robert Galbraith.
Though its a smaller shop so don’t expect things as blossoms or Bookworm. You go there when you are in rush and quickly want to buy the book and make an exit.
Higginbotham is perhaps the oldest bookstore chain in India,a history which dates back to 174 years back!! The 174-year-old Chennai firm embodies the passion for books of its founder, Abel Joshua Higginbotham.Higginbothams has stood majestically on MG Road since 1897. But for a while, the shutters were down for renovation and then, a brand new Higginbothams opened.Patterned interiors, a cosy courtyard, and an expansive collection of every imaginable genre.
It reminds a book lover of fairy tales,Cinderella and snow-whites a romance in white. The building itself is regal. You can have fun there.
Pick a book and go sit in the courtyard at the back where they also organise lot of book event as well. Books are neatly stacked according to the genre. Popular fiction, children’s section that also doubles up as an activity corner, comics and graphic novels wing upstairs as well as sections for non-fiction and academic books. I had a wonderful time spent there with amazing people. Especially the presence of Salma Shafeeq Gohri who is a veer nari and also runs a vasant kunj foundation NGO which works for martyrs wives and kids aided upon the romanticism with the books and Higginbotham.
If you are in Bengaluru for touristy stuff, whether book reader or not I insist you to visit these bookstores at least for once and experience something magical which you won’t be able to in the rustle bustle of the digital world.
Here are the links to two of my best selling books online which if you buy from these stores will get you a signed copy. The higginbotham have the signs of Mrs Salm Shafeeq Gori as well, a martyrs wife.