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5 Street side book markets in India

- By Dwaipayan, 25 May 2021 | 6 MIN READ


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Printed words are always magical! iPads and e-readers may have become the norm of the day, but not anything can quite compete with an old-fashioned book. The smell of papers, the intrigue, the excitement of reading a paperback is just out-of-the-world experience.

For avid readers, local book markets are the best place where they can spend hours browsing and looking for the best bargains.

Street shopping for books is always engaging, at times you spend hours in pursuit of that one book you never expected under the heaps.

Yes, many Indian cities are home to hidden lanes that are little-known treasure chests of books. The street-side book markets are the places where one deals with all kinds of books.

Here is a list of 5 busy street book markets across India where readers can actually do a lot of bargaining and pick up their favorite reads!

College Street – Kolkata - Largest second hand book market in the world

It’s a feast for the readers out there. Kolkata’s historic College Street is India’s largest book market, lending it the endearing nickname Boi Para – Book Town. With an area spanning almost one million square feet. The mile-long avenue is dotted with hundreds of bookstores, big and small. College Street is also home to many of India’s biggest publishing houses. The bookstores range from standard physical stores to small provisional stalls made from bamboo or canvas.

One can find exceedingly rare collections sold at dirt cheap prices and extensive bargaining is the order of the day. Remember to catch up with some real brewing coffee at the famed Indian Coffee House and get involved in some serious gossip.

Koti and Abids (on Sundays) – Hyderabad

The city of Nizam, Hyderabad, comes alive with a bustling Sunday Abids book market. As soon the shutters go down on shops in Abids on Saturday, the area starts its preparation – the road stretch from Taj Mahal Hotel till the post office – gets transformed into a bustling market with roadside vendors selling clothes, fruits, and books. While haphazardly stacked tomes nestle alongside paperbacks at the roadside stalls, the main book market can be found inside the nearby complex.

The place sells academic books, a 10-15 minute drive away from Abids is the Koti book market. At one point, Koti used to be the go-to place for textbooks, and the weekends would be packed with medical and engineering students in search of second-hand versions of their expensive reference books.

Daryaganj Book Market and Nai Sadak – Delhi

Delhi has two prominent book markets – the Daryaganj book market and Nai Sadak in old Delhi. The Sunday book market at Daryaganj is popular for being a one-stop bazaar for readers. This place was author Khushwant Singh’s favorite hangout.

The Nai Sadak market’s charm is that it is open on all days except Sundays. It has double-story structures throughout the street and the ground floors of these buildings house bookshops.

Avenue Road – Bengaluru

Another retreat for readers is a trip to Avenue Road. Walking you can find books stacked up to a height of 9 ft. as far as the eye can see. You can gain access to a variety of books on management and medicine to the latest fiction novels. It is a common sight to see bibliophiles leafing through these books and the sellers adroitly finding them the ones they want.

The book market is located at Chickpet, this perpetually crowded one-way street is packed with heritage buildings, food carts, and hundreds of shops selling wholesale stationery, jewelry and textiles. It is also one of the best places in Bengaluru to sell your old textbooks (including the ones you never opened and never plan to read)!

Flora Fountain – Mumbai

It’s hard to believe that a book lover visits Mumbai and never visits Flora Fountain at Fort, the heart of Mumbai city. One can see busy booths at this street-side market stock secondhand books by authors ranging from Vikram Seth to William Shakespeare to Chetan Bhagat. You can see huge piles of books

One can see piles of books like highrise the moment Churchgate subway ends, The piles of books are so tall and spacious, that the sellers have created little open fortresses with walls made of books for curious readers to surf. All kinds of books from rare classics, modern bestsellers, academic texts, or even comics dating back decades.

These five places are the much-cherished book markets all over the country. Readers! we want you to put your best bargain and rediscover the joy of reading.

 

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