Ipsita K and Sushmitha B
Standing meekly at one corner of Church Street in Bangalore, which is
otherwise adorned with pubs and restaurants, is the legendary Blossom Book Store. In an age of e-commerce where e-books are all the rage, this 15-year old book shop is still thriving. What once started with one single room has ‘blossomed’ into three floors, covering an area of 3500 sqft.
So what keeps this shop well and alive at an era where online
bookstores and electronic reading devices have taken over the youth? Mayi Gowda, the proud owner of Blossom, swears by their unique and extensive haul. “You will not find any other bookstore in Bangalore, or even in India, with such a vast assortment of books such as ours,” he says. Add to that attractive prices and a wide array of genres under one roof, and you have a national best-seller!
Marshal, a regular at Blossom, has a different point of view as to why
such bookstores are still making strides today. While he enjoys the smell and tangibility of the books, he also says that it is a great place for bibliophiles to meet and interact with each other with favourites and recommendations.
“On an average, we sell up to a thousand books a day,” says Mayi
Gowda, reiterating the fact that all hope is not lost in an all-consumerist culture. One step inside this book-lover’s paradise and one can browse through various genres, ranging from romance, crime, classics, crime, religion and history, among others. From Wodehouse to Bukowski and Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy, Blossom caters to all sorts of clientele. One will also find antique comic books that are individually wrapped in plastic to prevent wear and tear. The store houses a wide range of children’s books and cookbooks as well.
But before you dismiss Blossom as a typical elitist store only serving a niche English- speaking and-reading audience, think again. You can find a number of
vernacular books too—a lot of them being guides to speaking in Kannada, Tamil, Hindi, and so on.
And just when you think that things couldn’t get any better,
Blossom(s) also have a website called ‘Overheard at Blossoms’, which is a collection of funny and silly anecdotes of things people say at the store.
“Oh man I feel like a blonde here. ” One fellow while standing amidst a bunch of folks talking about Murakami books. An excerpt from overheardatblossoms.tumblr.com
Mayi comes from a humble village in Mysore. He studied Electrical
Engineering but his insatiable love for books soon took over and he started a small bookstore in Brigade Garden. He says that over the years, his business has spread mostly by word of mouth. “We’re planning to expand to a bigger space,” he says, pointing to piles of books that were kept on the floor owing to lack of room. He outsources the books from other cities, like Chennai or Madras, and sometimes from abroad.
While prices of second-hand books start from as low as Rs. 60, one
will also find the latest releases and bestsellers and at the billing counter—and they often come at a ‘Blossom’ discounted rate. Want to stay updated with the latest literary events in the city? Just glance at the poster-adorned walls adjacent to the staircase. It is the perfect haven for book lovers and avid readers. Bookstores like Blossom serves as a constant reminder as well as assurance, that an e-book or a Kindle will never be able to
live up to the delectable aroma of books or the unparalleled ambience
and joy that a book store provides