Written by Radhika Sethi
Is it just me or do you feel like books embracing you in a warm hug, the moment you walk into a bookstore?
I think you know what I’m talking about…
I’ve been on a mission to explore bookstores in every new city I visit. The start was quite random but now I’m hooked. My must-visit lists always have bookstores now, much to the annoyance of my travel companions. Discovering local authors and regional books is great. But what makes this experience captivating is how a bookstore can encapsulate the culture or so-called “vibe” of a city. It’s like a microcosm of culture, reading and otherwise.
But I write this article to draw small differences between bookstores in India to the ones abroad.
Somehow visiting and spending time in bookstores is an experience in itself in the west whereas in India it feels corporate, so to say.
A few bookstores I explored recently in the US do fun little things to engage visitors and readers. One of the most popular things happens to be a little nook with staff recommendations. They have hand-written notes with a mini book review, adding an endearing touch. Some of the more established bookstores have been able to diversify and have branded merchandise to create a community of their own. A few of the bookstores have carved out a section to feature local authors, which is what adds up to this personalized touch.
In India, there are a few national brands like Crossword or Oxford bookstore that are pretty standardized book shops, where you go in, buy your book, and exit. While I understand and acknowledge the need for large bookhouses like these; but, where are the little local bookstores? There are just a couple I’ve been able to find in Indian cities. In Bangalore for example, Bookworm and Blossoms are the most popular bookstores. And if there are bookstores, we are not doing enough to make them known.
India, being the diverse country it is, should have an abundance of such bookstores. The richness of our Literature has much to offer, and even in the age of digital reading – this could be a less-explored business idea. A little effort to have the store tastefully set up and some marketing efforts can go a long way. Bookstores have the capability of becoming tourist destinations in themselves, like the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, and even Blossoms and Bookworm in Bangalore.
But India, we need moooooore.
If you happen to know cute bookstores in India, we’d love to hear about them in the comments. If you are a present or future bookstore owner, we’d love to have a conversation about how we can help you with marketing. You can reach us at email@example.com.
Learn more about Beyond The Panorama here.
Picture credits: Author
Leave a Reply