There's a book in every nook

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There's a book in every nook

It’s always a pleasure going book shopping, especially when they are second-hand books – browsing through various titles, the smell of the yellowing pages and coming across obscure and vintage books that only a book-lover can appreciate. The experience turns even more enjoyable when the owner of a bookstore shares your enthusiasm for reading.

Tippu Waseem Pasha, owner of ‘Book Bonanza’ in Jayanagar, started the store because of his passion for reading. From arts, literature, history and geography to science and technology, he voraciously feeds on anything that comes his way. “I love books and can’t imagine doing anything else. When you are running a bookstore, you discover a lot of things and meet new people. I update myself through my customers – there are well-informed people from different professions who come to the store and I also get to help educate the youngsters,” he says.

‘Book Bonanza’ is unlike most second-hand bookstores in the City – heaps of books clutter various rooms and they are sold by the kilogram. “Most second-hand bookstores are either overpriced, not very accessible or not of good quality,” says Tippu. He also doesn’t approve of how these books are sold. “Most sellers just pull out the books from the shelves and they are billed. There is no personal connection with the customers. Here, the customers are my friends and it’s a fun experience. I offer them what they need and the freedom to explore.” While most stores are neatly categorised, ‘Book Bonanza’ is strewn with so many books that it takes at least a couple of hours to go through the titles.

Authors who are out of the shelves in most stores can be found here. Although all the books are imported and in English, the store has its share of loyal customers. Sreejith, a financial analyst, had come with his wife and mother, Hemalatha. “I’m not much of a reader but my sister is and she’s sent me a list of books to buy for her,” he says. Hemalatha, who also loves to read, had picked up her share of ‘Mills & Boon’. “They are just Rs 20 so I’m picking up a few. I really love to read,” she says.

On why there aren’t any regional language books, Tippu says, “They work out more expensive. At the moment, I get books from the UK and US every 15 days. I like adding to the collection.” How does he manage to part with such a nice collection? “The books come and go. Readers like new material.”

He finds it amusing when some people hide books. “They want to come back later and buy it so they hide some books. I’ve never had the time to remove it from these places but it would be amusing to see their faces when they find that the books aren’t in their spots.” 

Unfortunately, the building where the store is housed is going to be torn down. But because of the great demand, Tippu has received an extension. “We were initially supposed to shut down by May 5 but now we have time till May 25.” He is yet to find a new home for the store but says, “As long as I’m alive, the store will live on.”

Tippu also has a collection of rare and antique books and newspapers that he gives to a select few customers. “When I know that a person can appreciate the value of a book, I give, sometimes for free, an antique.”

This is true for all books – when he identifies a book-lover, he isn’t hesitant to give them books for free. “It’s not about the money. I sell by the kilogram, irrespective of whether it’s old or new. And I never sell a pirated copy because they give a different feel when reading,” he says.

Coming from a corporate background, Tippu opened the store in 2008. “It has been a challenge – from getting the licences to finding the right books.” But he says it was all worth it.

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