Bangalore has its fair share of English language bookshops, with most major new-releases appearing on the shelves soon after their international launches. Most bookstores in Bangalore today are part of a chain and offer a similar range, although there are still some independents that have a more focused selection. A good number of the bookshops are dotted around the MG Road area, making it possible to do an afternoon of bookshop-hopping. Prices of books are relatively cheap in India, and very often, imports into India from other countries may be cheaper than the same edition abroad.
Notable bookstores are:
Strand Book Stall
Centrally located in Manipal Centre on Dickenson Road, this family-run business has catered to book lovers for sixty years. Its owner Vidya Virkar is active in the Bangalore social scene, and will help you find, or order most books you might want. It is one of the few places with a decent art book selection, and also has outlets in the Wipro and Infosys IT campuses in Electronics City.
Blossom Book House
Hands down Bangalore’s most browse-worthy bookstore specializing in used books, rare books, visual and children’s books as well as new arrivals and bestsellers. Though you can also order online with Blossom (http://www.blossombookhouse.com/), this downtown store is worth the visit. 84 Church Street, opposite Amoeba restaurant.
Full of old world charm, Select was founded in 1945 and its friendly owner Mr. Murthy is a fount of knowledge. Specialising in rare and out-of-print books, this is a place to browse for and find unexpected treasures. Located on 71 Brigade Road Cross, just off bustling Brigade Road, this is an oasis in many ways.
Selling exclusively Penguin books, this new, cosy store is on MG Road (next to GK Vale). Although a good place to look for a specific Penguin book, the fact that it is limited to one publishing house makes repeat visits a little monotonous.
Landmark (The Forum Mall, Koramangala)
Part of the giant Landmark chain, this is one of the larger bookstores in Bangalore, although a lot of the stores also sells children’s toys, music and home products.
Reliance Time Out (Cunningham Road)
A chain store with a decent offering, and regular events and readings. Also has a coffee bar [Phone: 4128-6025]
Odyssey (Indiranagar, and 4 other locations)
Part of a chain, a reasonable selection of books, somewhat weighted towards self help and bestsellers.
Crossword (Residency Road)
Another large chain store, with a wide selection and a coffee bar.
Oxford Bookstore (The Leela Galleria, Airport Road)
Smallish store, part of the Oxford chain, stocking most new arrivals.
Higginbothams (MG Road)
An old bookstore with a slightly lacklustre feel, but great location. [Phone: 2558-6574; 2509-1768; 2558-7359]
Gangarams (MG Road, a couple of doors down from Higginbothams)
Its tiny stairwell entrance belies its three floor selection of books, greetings cards and stationery. A good place to pop in for a last minute birthday gift.