A Tale Of Two Bookstores

The door opens to a musty smell as you walk into a room full of books. Books are stacked on shelves, on ledges, on the floor, on tables, the book towers teetering, almost touching the ceiling. You are scared to brush past the stacks or to try to take out a book from the middle of a pile. You are afraid that the full-stack might topple over, leaving you buried under books( though in hindsight, not a bad fate at all!). Welcome to the bookstore where no inch of space is left vacant, there are books as far as the eye can see. Arranged ( or rather, plonked) in no particular order, not sorted, they seem to be dumped willy-nilly. And yet, the bookseller knows precisely where each book is. The bookseller gauges you by the books you pick, the blurbs you read, and if you ask for, the recommendations will never miss the mark. The shop doesn’t have comfortable nooks or recesses for you to peruse your choices. Most of the books are covered with plastic covers, ostensibly to protect them from dust but actually to discourage reading for free. The bookseller will grudgingly take the plastic off if you ask, only to promptly put it back on once you return the book. You will spend the whole time in the shop standing ( in fact the only furniture apart from the books is usually a table and a rickety stool for the bookseller to sit on) and yet, you do not get tired. You are energized by the sight of so many books, impressed by the bookseller’s knowledge and recommendations. You enjoy every moment spent in that hole in the wall bookstore.


The automatic doors open with a soft whoosh as you step inside, there are racks after racks of filled with books all arranged neatly by genres, easy to find. The floors are covered with a thick carpet muffling sound and nestled in between the racks of books are sofas where, if you so desire, you can sit and read a book in peace. Tables having attractive displays of current bestsellers entice the reader the pick them up, to explore them, buy them. Mingling with the smell of books is the aroma of coffee from the in-house coffee house. There is an air of hushed reverence for the books. An ever polite, helpful assistant is there to look up your queries in the state of the art computer.


Hours can be spent in these places, just browsing through the books. You become unaware of the time flying until you are dragged out by your companions. The small bookstore is cruder on the surface but has a unique personal touch, there is an undefinable relation with the bookseller. The big chain bookstore, though impersonal, is more comfortable, lulling you into spending the whole day there.

Some people prefer the first bookstore for its unique personality while others prefer the second for its peace and discount power. As for me, even though both are poles apart, they both are my version of a paradise.


**I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s  #MyFriendAlexa.**

122 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Bookstores

  1. Wow I love libraries. The smell of books just excites me! I remember being part of al library for a long time. I think that’s my way forward to continue reading books. I don’t like this online reading of books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ˜€ online reading is not everyone’s cup of tea. I too was resistant to online for a long time though overtime have become used to it. Still nothing beats a physical book

      Like

    2. Being inside any book shop is like a walk in the park for me. I love the old and classic bookshops while new and fancy ones also attract me. For me the happiness cmes by being admits the books no matter how is the place.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The basic objective of bookstore is the quests for knowledge and need to be addressed by any book store. Whereas the facilities are the source of motivation as well as means to fulfil the business requirement.
    While comparing the facilities existing in two bookstores, in the concluding remark, author has clearly expressed that if one has zeal, both versions will be liked.
    Thus, message is very clear that – where there is a will, there is a way.
    A good propagation of message, well-done, Keep it up.
    Dr S.K. Nanda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s been ages since I have been to a book store of the first kind in your picture. Your beautiful description just took me there to bask in the glory of that unforgettable and unquenchable smell of old books. Many times, whenever I am in a book store or outside I have so wished to be in the place of that book seller πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! for some reason ur comment went in spam(!!) but worry not, we have saved it!
      Thank you so much, yes sometimes I too want to exchange places with the bookseller!

      Like

  4. This was like You’ve Got Mail! Both of them have a different charm, I feel. Big books offer discounts while small ones give you personal service. Anyway, more important is to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. your post has remined me our frequent visit to local libraries. here is USA, libraries are so well organized and you can spent hours to explore and read different books of various genre. loved the write up. a

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a feel good post! It’s been a long time since I visited a bookstore. Recently I have developed a habit of reading on Kindle. I realized that it’s not uncomfortable if you read on the device. Reading on app was very stressful. But, of course, reading paperbacks is something else. Visiting a bookstore, browsing through the shelves is a lovely experience. These libraries seem fascinating. Both of them have their own charm.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This post reminds me if the Central Library we as children used to visit in our city.
    The smell of books, the sight of long shelves filled with books, the happy hours spent there just browsing ……
    Happy memories……:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! I have seen both kinds of book shops you are describing. The ones we used to find in moor market in Chennai had plenty of the first kind of book shop you described. The posh landmark in a mall is an example of the second. Moor market was destroyed in a fire long time back. Great post. Just like you I like both kinds of bookshops.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This post reminded me of the library I visited when I was a kid. Those smell of books when u enter the library. You helped me bring that nostalgia back.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Small bookshops are my kind of magical escapes. Wherever I go, I tend to find some hidden bookstores – with a bookseller who is running the bookshop for reasons beyond money! Loved the way you have penned this down. Have you seen YOU on Netflix?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A physical copy of books and browsing through the book stores hold a special place in every bibliophile’s heart. And I am no different. I love to touch them, feel the story, and then buy them. Loved reading this post of yours

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh just reading this post took me down the memory lane..back to when I could actually visit the said shops. I just looooveeee the smell of books! And a book store is a paradise indeed. I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to bookstores. This reminded me of “You’ve Got Mail” too. Have you watched that movie?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I used to dream of having my own bookstore someday πŸ™‚ then I grew up!
    I love a bookstore, a library, a home with books. give me a cup of coffee,and I will make myself at home.
    so i cannot choose, as books are LOVE and HAPPINESS in EVERY Form πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Libraries and book stores are my favorite place too, doesn’t matter how they look or feel, I can spend hours or even the whole day just skimming through the books. Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This post is love. I have dreamt of owning a bookstore or working in a library. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ This post brings back the nostalgia. Something about the smell of books is soothing. And a library always feels like a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The smell of book is enough to keep me happy. I prefer a more personal experience while shopping of books and would love to buy from someone who has vast knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, I am missing Bahri Sons and my Bookstore in meerut since I have not been able to go to India. Though thankfully the bookstores here are still open.

      Like

  16. For sure they both are pure versions of paradise and happiness.
    Bookstores are a magical place that has so many stories, characters, thoughts all scattered and looking for a reader to explore them.
    What catches my attention in a book store is the feel of holding the book in my hand and smell the paper. I had always dreamt of owning a bookstore and spend hours there.
    Such a nice bookish post.

    Like

  17. Earlier I would always books online or from Crossword and then I visited Blossoms bookstore at Banglore when my parents shifted there. Now I make it a point to spend one day at the store and buy all the books I want to read during the year while on my annual visit to Banglore. Do visit the store if you happen to visit Banglore. Every book lover should visit the store. You will get the books at discounted rates as well. I bought so many classics 2 years back. I haven’t been able to visit Banglore since the past 2 years and had to buy a Kindle to get me through the pandemic lockdown but nothing beats holding a physical book in the hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am yet to go to a bookstore like the first one here in Dubai… though I dearly wish there was one! As for the second, Kinokuniya and Borders are havens! I actually prefer Kinokuniya over Borders, because it just feels more… bookish, while Borders just feels like another store…
    Anyhoo, on to finding that elusive hole in the wall bookstore!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I am the one who likes the first bookstore probably as it reminds me of my first library back in 2002. A small store but filled with books. I can gaze at those hours browsing through many books. Thank you for reminding it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I agree with you, Harshita. Bookstore may be of any kind, it’s dear to a book lover. Yes, they may appeal to you if books are neatly stacked and you smell coffee but the other not so neatly also smells. The smell of books.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. They both sounds great Harshitha. But I feel like adding a couple of more experiences here. One place that made an impression on me was the Sunday book market in Daryaganj, Delhi. I have never seen so much book in my life in one place! A sea of books sold by many vendors spread over an area as big as probably half of a football stadium. And this is just the ‘official’ part. Outside on the street there are more book. And most of the books are sold at a super cheap price, cheaper than the price of the paper. itself That is the moment I was wondering about the lack of value of certain printed words!

    My second book store is the one I found in Ipoh, Malaysia. An old bank vault has been turned into a book store. You walk in through really thick vault doors which you might have seen the robbers try to cut open using gas cutters in some heist movies, and enter the world of book kept inside bank safe.

    These are similar to your option1 and 2. 1st one is in the open and the second one with automatic doors and catalogue software. Now the question is, which one would you prefer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Daryaganj was one place I wanted to visit but never could due to certain circumstances, though did catch a glimpse once while driving through there. The one in Malaysia sounds very intriguing!
      As far as I am concerned any bookstore will do for me ( we really need more in Dubai). My only condition is there should be a good collection of books

      Liked by 1 person

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