Janpath – Delhi’s favourite haunt for bargain jewelry, cool cottons, and knick knacks draws visitors from all over. Locals love it for the experience of hearing wares being offered in dozens of languages as hawkers call out to browsers, selling trinkets and clothing dirt cheap; tourists love it because the exotic elements here just can’t be beat. From harem pants and silver earrings to Buddhist lotus lamps and Hindu Shivalingas, there’s really something here for every budget conscious soul.
There are shoe shops and fancy Tibetan stores, of course, but there are also the rows upon rows of ‘export surplus’ sellers. And tucked into one such clothing store is the place within a place, where a hidden worlds open for those who seek it: a used bookstore that also buys novels back.
Subhash Murada has run the secondhand bookstore from Shop No. 1 for about 40 years. Before that, it had a different location in Delhi …but its story starts way before that, in 1910. Murada’s father Tota Ram established the original book shop in Dera Ismail Khan, a city near Peshawar in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of what is now Pakistan. In 1947, he moved to India and restarted his business, which is now run by his successors.
The bookstore within the garment store draws people of all ages and backgrounds, compelled by the love of a bargain as well as a need to read.
The Real Deal
The bookstore has no snobbery about genres; you’ll find the Da Vinci Code right next to Half Girlfriend and The Famous Five. Romance novels are, unsurprisingly, very popular.
Walk all the way in and start scanning, you’re bound to find something you can enjoy on the shelves.
Prices start as low as Rs. 25 and once you’re done with your book, you can bring it back and get 50 percent of the cost back, or simply exchange it for a fresh book. The idea is to cater to anyone who reads.
Murada got the idea, he says, when he realized how broke college students are generally. So, to make sure nobody would miss out on a book just because of the prohibitive cost new editions cost, he set up this unique buy-back-or-barter system.
It’s absolutely perfect for those who are budget conscious as well as people trying to declutter. Bibliophiles know that letting go of a good book is difficult, but Subhash Bookstore is the perfect solution for all those one-time reads that pile up and take up precious shelf space.
The bookstore is inside a garment stall in the Janpath flea market.
Where: Shop No. 1, Mini Market, Janpath, New Delhi
When: 10:00 hours to 19:00 hours, daily
Cost: Rs. 25 upwards
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