We are enjoying the posts that Duckbill Books
is sharing for ?#?IndependentBooksellersWeek?. Sayoni Basu mentions all their favourite stores in this article about indie booksellers in India who are bucking the trend of chain stores
Atta Galatta, Bangalore
Atta Galatta in Koramangala is a bookstore and event space. (There is also fantastic coffee!) Subodh Shankar and Lakshmi Subodh started the shop in April 2012. Lakshmi, who was earlier a copywriter and insurance consultant, says one of their aims is to promote Indian writing in English and other languages such as Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi, a place where we think a mature, thinking audience would come for a cup of filter coffee and some good reading.
Atta Galatta offers the experience of books through plays, music, storytelling, workshops and movies, a place where artistes from various literary and creative backgrounds can come together to share their work, and bring together an audience of like minded people. “The fun part and the challenging part are one and the same. Since we hold a number of events and workshops, we get an opportunity to work with different people. New ideas, new ways of doing things and different styles are what makes it fun. But at the same time we have to cater to people according to very specific requirements, which makes it a challenge for us.”
Lightroom Bookhouse, Bangalore
In a quiet neighbourhood in Bangalore, among lots of trees and old houses, lurks the Lightroom Bookstore, which specialises in picture books. It just celebrated its second birthday.
Says Aashti Mudnani, who runs it, “Opening a bookstore for children was in the dreaming and thinking phase for over seven years before we started the store in 2013, when our oldest child was born and we were unable to find the kind of books we would have liked for our children. My husband and I have always enjoyed reading children’s books and used to go hunting for them at Strand book sales and through the stacks of used books at second-hand bookstores. Of course, finding the books we liked was always based on chance! Lightroom started on a shoestring budget – we took all the help offered by friends and family, monetary and otherwise!”
Everything about running a bookstore is fun, says Aashti, so it is hard for her to identify one particular element. Pressed for an answer, she says, “My super colleagues who are willing to do anything that is asked of them!”
“Earlier I used to naively think that our biggest hurdle was the difficulty in getting the kinds of books that we really wanted to get. Now, the realistic and massive challenge we are all facing are online booksellers. Even though people say they like bookstores, they do buy online! We have people call us to ask for a price of a particular book and are aware that they are comparing it with an online seller, but have no choice but to give it!”