The Case of the Vanishing Bookshops

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in General Reading, Inspiration and Opinions | 2 comments

It is no longer a secret that with the onset of ebooks and online shopping sites, the bookshops are vanishing at an alarming pace. Sector-18 market in Noida that at one time in not too distant past boasted of at least four charming little BookStores, now is left with only one. Galgotia’s, miraculously, still survives but has been reduced to one dingy basement. Most book stores in North-West Delhi and West Delhi are also suffering the same fate, with huge players like Reliance TimeOut being pushed to shut their shops.Landmark in The Forum, Bangalore

Book stores in South Delhi are only slightly better off. Some have closed down whereas others are seeing a highly diminished inflow of customers. The owner of a bookshop in Defence Colony market thanked me so profusely that it made me feel guilty about all the books I have bought online. And what is most unfortunate is that this is happening when reading as a hobby is obviously on an upward trend in India, with 73% of Indian Youth literate and increasingly turning to books for leisure-reading.

And youngsters as more attached to books than we ever were. One particular young lady, all of 9, I had met last year started sobbing in her mom’s arms when she was told that her favorite book store has shut down. I, myself, was devastated upon learning that Cafe Turtle and Pages book stores in Noida and Crossword and Reliance TimeOut in Rohini have shut down. This is the kind of love we harbour for our favorite bookstores. And in spite of this, the book stores are shutting down, and we can do nothing but watch.

Today I Eulogise my favorite book store Pages in Noida Sector 18:

Pages, the book store in Sector-18, Noida, made all my visits to the crowded market worth it. I don’t remember a single visit when I came out without purchasing anything. Unpretentious and simplistic, the layout was just perfect for my taste.┬áThe staff was always eager to help and one particular old uncle ji did everything he could to find the book I was looking for or the one he thought I should read. When the store closed down, it left a void in the market and in my life. I wish some day I will wake up to find that this was all a dream and that the store never closed down.

If one of your favorite bookstore has closed down recently and you wish to eulogise it, leave the eulogy in a comment on this blog post and we will share it on our Facebook Page for others to read.

2 Comments

  1. Reliance Timeout in Rohini(Delhi), was the only decent book store in the area. It not only stocked excellent books but it was also a great place to visit, if you were looking for stationary, music CDs and movie DVDs. My entire family was devastated when it closed down last year. There is no book shop in the area now. It has definitely left a Reliance-Timeout-shaped hole in the book reader’s world in Rohini.

  2. Like you, I am an avid book reader and i feel sad about closure of bookshops. However, I do feel that the publishing industry is partly responsible for it. Do you know why many significant e-commerce firms started by selling books online? Because it is a high margin business. The Bookshops were sitting pretty on a business model that was profitable and did not change it for the longest time. I was in New York recently and while some of the largest book retailers have shut shop, there are some who are doing really well and others who are expanding. Bookshops need to be redefined for the market today and will survive tomorrow – all it takes is a smart entrepreneur to crack the code.

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