Friday, July 11, 2008

Books & Things

Crosswords in Bangalore. Pic courtesy:Kishore

This last post reminded me how much I rue the fact that Sri Lanka doesn't have good book stores. The Vijitha Yapa is not really a book store, it's a small book-shop. There's no place to just chill, read a few pages of the book you want to buy while you sip a cup of coffee.What's my ideal book store? It should have preferabaly, the following:
  • Lots of books (duh! - but a good collection of politics/econ books is a must and for that to hapen your book store must be large) 
  • Comfy places to sit around and read, your book store should double as a sort of a library.
  • Coffee.
  • Wi-fi or a way in which you can read reviews. (same goes for my ideal DVD-store)
  • Some things other than books -- DVDs, and other little 'things' you can buy (not essential really, but good business stratergy)
Sady, I haven't found this place yet. The closest I've been to something like this is Books & Things, in Gurgaon, in one of the malls.Gurgaon is this up and coming place just outside of Delhi. Fun place. the store didn't have any coffee or internet, but it had almost everything else right. In fact, India is a good place for book-people. Not only can you find pirated books on the street, if you are someone on a student-budget, but you'd find places like Books & Things or Crosswords. For all the Hindi-movies/Soaps they copy, I wish a few Sri Lankans copied some of that.

There maybe reasons for this though, India (according to some) has the world's largest English speaking population. With 350 million speakers, that's more than the combined populations of the U.S., U.K, Canada and Australia put together. Sri Lanka's whole population is about 20 million, about the same as Mumbai's total population. Fortunately or unfortunately, laws of demand and supply apply to everything. But then again, given all those coffee houses and up-market cafe's, I'm sure there is a market for a decent book store.


santhoshi said...

Landmark in chennai is another good bookstore which stocks loads of books. There is no place to sit down and read or browse. They have a huge collection of DVDs and kids section as well.....

We do really need something like that here soon.....

aufidius said...

that is why i like second hand bookshops..u can walk around the place,, read books enjoy even the smell of coffee (if there is a cafe).. and you are not obliged to buy..

on the other hand places like WHSmith or Vijitha Yapa ( SL version of WHS) are more like fast outlets like KFC etc.. where books are more treated like consumable items which are meant to be merely consumed and not treated as holders of intellectual (or otherwise) substance..

Deane said...

Santhoshi, both B&T and crosswords have places to chill.

Auf, sure machang but second-hand books are, well, second hand. You don't get fresh stuff. ;)