Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bookstores in Delhi (for the Bibliophile's List)


Ritika Bhatia shares details about three bookstores that should be on every bibliophile's list - from first editions, vintage copies, old comic strips and rare, personally signed books.


Shakespeare & Company Sign No.2 DetailAnjali International Book Store, located in Central Market, Lajpat Nagar - that bustling space that sells anything and everything from coffee to coffins - has been named after owner Ramesh Madan's daughter Anjali. Madan, himself an avid bibliophile, has over 3 lakh books stashed away in various warehouses. I found a first edition copy of W Somerset Maugham's Catalina, priced at a paltry Rs 200. Apart from classics, comic fans will be delighted to find copies of old Indrajal comics, Amar Chitra Katha books, Mad magazines as well as collector's edition magazines. Madan's most precious item is The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven - one of the six copies in the world - that contains records and music sheets, priced at Rs 30,000. 

Amid grimy auto repair shops and coaching class centres in Kotla Mubarakpur is nestled Timeless Bookstore, a red brick building with French windows and forest green shutters. 

Stocking mostly coffee-table books, the best picks here are almost all of Raghu Rai's works (from his Varanasi, Calcutta, Mother Teresa series, priced at Rs 2,000 each) and Henri Cartier Bresson in India by Satyajit Ray (also for Rs 2,000). There is a 50-year commemorative edition on Martin Acoustic Guitars for Rs 2,500. 

Hauz Khas Village's slow but steady decline from culture-lover's haven to commercial hub has seen the demise of Navratana Art Gallery and Bookstore that had set up shop in 1999. Now having moved to a gallery space in Gurgaon, owner Nikhil Gupta invites customers by appointments to view his collections that include signed copies of books by Jawaharlal Nehru and Lala Lajpat Rai as well as historical maps of India such as those from Bombay Presidency, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

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