There is no doubt that the world is shifting towards e-reading and most people now surf the internet as they skip from the synopsis of one book to another looking for their next read (thanks Amazon, for making everything far less experiential). I’m also convinced that for most book-lovers, looking for books online just doesn’t cut it.
The joy of visiting a bookstore is unparalleled and unmatched. Bookstores hold book collections carefully curated by the independent bookstore owners, the thrill of unexpectedly discovering your new favourite book or a rare find and, of course, the smell of books old and new. Bookstores in that sense essentially hold the keys to magical worlds of stories both imagined and lived.
For the love of books and independent bookstores, we’ve curated a list of the most iconic and oldest bookstores in Delhi.
I. Bahrisons Booksellers
Bahrisons Booksellers has long defined the bylanes of Khan Market. The iconic bookstore has been there since 1953 - a total of 68 years for the family-run bookstore that was started by Balraj Bahri, a 25-year-old refugee from Kingsway Camp.
The bookstore is known for having some of the most unique versions of classics as well as signed copies from various authors.
On most evenings you’ll find Mr Anuj Bahri Malhotra, who is from the second generation of booksellers in his family. He is always having conversations with his patrons, recommending books, and dropping in some anecdotes and words of wisdom.
You can check out their curated collections here.
II. Faqir Chand & Sons Bookstore
Another legendary bookshop of Khan Market, the Faqir Chand & Sons Bookstore has been etched into the memories of Delhi’s bibliophiles. With its previously white board and walls now yellow with green creepers on the outside wall, the old bookstore’s charm certainly hasn’t been lost.
Selling books since 1951, Faqir Chand Bookstore has among the most diverse collections of books. The shop is like a passage of books and though not classified into genres, it houses some of the rarest finds.
Find out more about them and their collections here.
III. The Book Shop
In 2008, the New York Times declared a bookstore nestled in the end of a quiet road in Jorbagh, a short walk from Lodhi garden as the ‘...the cosiest bookshop in the country’.
Writers like William Dalrymple, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Geoffrey Ward, and Arundhati Roy are known for having frequented the bookshop where they would spend memorable times with the late owner KD Singh. KD Singh’s legacy is continued by his wife Nini Singh who now runs the bookstore.
Know more about them and their collection here.
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