Tt’s OK if you’re not able to make it to Jaipur Literature Festival, starting on January 21. Get the metro to Connaught Place. We guide you to its bookstores.
People’s Tree Bookshop
Popular for its thinking hippie’s Tees, People’s Tree, circa 1990, has a cozy bookshop too. The collection is eclectic. There are sections on cinema, theatre and music. Our best purchase was a hardbound reprint of the Architectural Review of London, (circa 1931) in which travel writer Robert Byron reviewed the buildings and layout of the ‘new capital of India’, which was New Delhi.
8, Regal Building Time: 10.30am to 7pm Tel: 23744877
Bargain Book Store
Tucked in the flea market of Janpath, this second-hand book stall shares the narrow space with a garment stall. Ahmad Bhai, the shop assistant, has always a
in his mouth. Very witty, he once snubbed a pushy woman who was bargaining over Rs 5. Ahmad Bhai said, “These are not salwar suits, madam. These are books. Give them respect.”
Shop no. 1, Mini Market, Janpath Time: 10am to 7pm
Famous Book Store
The shop has wooden paneling, a spiral staircase, and a Victorian clock. There are Chetan Bhagat bestsellers, Vampire novels, self-help books, management paperbacks, Delhi guides and tomes on Hinduism.
We come here for two reasons. 1) It’s a rare place in Delhi to buy books of the Insight Guide series. 2) The doorman wears a waistcoat.
25, Janpath Market Time: 11am to 9pm, Sunday closed Tel: 23354900
New Book Land
This circular store was the first outlet of the Midland Book Shop chain, which was established in 1988. Guarded by a peepal tree, the bookstore offers 20 per cent discount, but please “No bargaining, no return.” With the shop at the entrance to Janpath, the owner, Mirza Salim Baig, has to put up with queries like, “Where will I find jackets for children?”
Janpath Time: 10.30am to 8.30pm Tel: 2332-6468
Amrit Book Company
Since 1936. Prem Sharma, the owner, claims that it is the oldest bookstore in Connaught Place. The place is mentioned in DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Delhi. Dhar says that his collection has all the books that cater to the taste of foreigners. But he is underselling his store. The bookshelves are stuffed tight with volumes on philosophy and yoga, novels and desi chicklits, guidebooks and historical fiction.
N-21, Outer Circle Time: 11am to 8.30pm, Tel: 2331-7331
Delhi Book Company
Started in 1945, the shop has low-hanging ceiling fans. The bookstore specialises in Hindi novels and children books. We’re a regular here for their Panchatantra comics.
M-12, Outer Circle Time: 10am to 7.30pm Tel: 4151-7890
The English Book Depot
Opened in 1938, the shop sells books on military, hunting, shooting and especially aviation. There are paperbacks on aircrafts, airport design, air crashes and cockpit engineering. The store’s entrance has a giant model of Cessna aircraft hanging from the roof. The shelves are decked with toy planes.
L-17, Outer Circle Time: 10am to 7pm Tel: 2341-5031
Anil Book Corner
Figuring in Rough Guide to India, it’s a haven for book lovers scavenging for second hand books. You’ll have to cultivate a relationship with the owner, Anil Kumar Aggarwal, for bargains.
H Block, Middle Circle, next to PVR Plaza Time: 10.30 am to 7.30pm,
New Book Depot
Originally run by a French couple, the current owner has mantained the shop’s old-world charm of low-hanging fans, rosewood shelves and rickety stairs.
B-18, Inner Circle Time: 11am to 7.30pm Tel: 2332-0020
ED Galgotia & Sons Booksellers
Lovable mummy and papa, the cheery daughter, the cobwebbed roof and dusty shelves make up ED Galogotia’s charm. The ED in the shop’s name is Etendra Dayal. His son, Bhagwat, opened the store in 1933. Bhagwat’s son, Radha Krishna, is the current owner. His wife, Gunjan, and daughter, Pooja, largely run the show. The shop serves tea (R7), coffee ((R10) and soup ((R12). Come here for surprise finds.
B-17, Inner Circle Time: 11am to 7.30pm, Tel: 4151-3848
Rajiv Book House
It’s a novelty in Palika Bazaar, an underground market better known for porn DVDs, pirated CDs and fake T-shirt brands. The shop has all the essentials-of-the-day: Tony Blair, Nostradamus, JRR Tolkien, Elizabeth Kolbert, Ramacha-ndra Guha and Arundhati Roy. Also add India-centric coffee table books, including the glossy hardbounds by photographer Raghu Rai.
20 per cent discount offered.
30, Palika Bazaar Time: 10.30am to 8pm, Tel: 2332-3692