Around India Through Its Unique Independent Bookstores - Homegrown

Around India Through Its Unique Independent Bookstores

Kindles, iPads and online books might have become cool today, but the old-school charm of walking into a bookstore is unparalleled. Who doesn’t love the smell of rustic rooms, the feel of dog-eared pages and the old bindings? These five hole-in-the-wall bookstores are must-visits, if you’re a bookaholic.

I. Wayword and Wise

Where: Mumbai

If you’re sick of finding the same authors and book titles everywhere, Wayword and Wise is a pitstop you need to make when you’re around Mumbai. This quaint bookstore has books that you didn’t even know you wanted to read. Everything from the likes of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Kurt Kobain’s Journals are shelved in the walls of this wonderful book space. It’s got lovely little tables set about if you want to enjoy reading at the store itself, or, you can certainly buy books to your heart’s content.

What really sets this bookstore apart from the others is the presence of Virat Chandok, this man knows his books, of course, since he picks each one out himself along with Atul Sud the owner of Wayword and Wise. Chandok asks you to list your favourite books and recommends you new titles from his massive collection, and there’s a hefty chance you’ll love it!

II. Maria Brothers

Where: Shimla

This tiny little store is tucked away on Shimla’s Mall Road, you’d probably miss this antique blue building of you haven’t got your eyes peeled for it. As their board claims, Maria Brothers has the rarest antiques that you could possibly find. From the American Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson himself to antique editions of works like Paradise Lost, Maria Brothers is every hoarder’s dream.

Even if you can’t afford these antiquities, Maria Brothers has to be on your bucket list. The maps, paintings, photographs, books, in fact the entire ambience of this hole-in-the wall bookstore takes you to a different dimension altogether, or as customers say it’s like entering a time warp.

Maria Brothers, Shimla
Source - Polka Cafe Pinterest

III. Book Tuk

Where: Kolkata

If Maria Brothers is too expensive, Book Tuk is unbelievably affordable. Although it may not seem like it at first glance, this garage converted bookstore on the EM Bypass houses not just bestsellers and classics but also encyclopedias and textbooks.

From Star Wars (I hear the nerd in you crying!) to painted postcards, this really is a bibliophile’s haven. And saving the best news for last, Book Tuk gives books away by the kilo, 500 for one kilogram of books, really what else do you need in life?

IV. Goobe’s Book Republic

Where: Banglore

Goobe’s is nestled in a basement on Church Street. It doesn’t overwhelm you with towers of books, but comfortably becomes any book lover’s dream. From bestselling authors to rare finds, from graphic novels to cookbooks, Goobe’s has it all. What really sets them apart, is their collection of books signed by the authors themselves, so if you’re a collector, this is the place you want to go.

Apart from being “the best little bookstore”, Goobe’s also operates as a library and home to many book readings, signings and even live music.

A man reading a book in Goobe’s Book Republic, Banglore
Source - Nat Geo Traveller India

V. Earthcare Books

Where: Kolkata

This quirky little book house is located on Middleton Street. As the name blatantly states, the store makes taking care of the Earth a priority. Dotted with plants and built upon a red oxidised floor, Earthcare Books isn’t just home to some rare finds, but also a publisher of books that address environmental issues and sustainable development.
The store transforms on weekends to host a farmers’ market with organic vegetables, oils and cereals. They also offer an array of immersive experiences like musical soirees to theatre performances, and workshops on urban gardening and composting.

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