Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Indie bookshops in India

Welcome to a little crowd-sourced project, mapping and listing indie bookstores in India. There are 127 of them so far. (Last edit: 29th April, 2023.)

This was prompted by an online exchange with Leonard Fernandes, co-founder of The Dogears Bookshop — who also did a disproportionate amount of the heavy lifting — and put together by me. Both map and list are embedded below, but you can also see them indpendently, on Google maps at https://bit.ly/bookstores-in-india, and on Google sheets here.

How you can help

Go through the map and/or the list and check if I missed bookshops you know and and give me their names and addresses and web sites, if available, or even better, a Google Maps link or latitude-longitude or even an Open Location Code (OLC). As you will see, vast swathes of the country are missing. (As of this edit, all of Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattishgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Punjab (not counting Chandigarh), Tripura, and pretty much all of non-metropolitan India.) And, since my social media circles are more likely to include folks who read in English, there are probably lots of shops selling books in other Indian languages that I missed. Also, if I’ve included shops that you know are not primarily booksellers (see below), let me know. (If you’d prefer not to comment here, you can find my social media links here on the sidebar. Specific posts: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Mastodon) If you know the people who own these stores, or happen to visit them, ask them if they know about this map, and if they don’t, show it to them. : )

What the map and list include

Brick-and-mortar shops which are solely or mostly sellers of trade books. (Simplistically, not textbooks or academic publications. Though, of course, books you and I buy for leisure reading can find themselves included in syllabi and all books educate us.)

What they do not include:

• Shops that primarily sell stationery, or textbooks or educational books.
• Shops that sell books that promote only one religion, or one organisation, or one political party.
• Shops owned by a publisher or distributor which only, or primarily, sell books by that publisher or distributor.
• Shops which are part of large chains (more than two shops in more than two cities, to draw an arbitrary line). Nothing against these — I’ve done a fair amount of book-buying from them — but this is to support the indies.
If the shop also runs within the same premises an unrelated for-profit business — say a café — then we’ll only include them if their primary gig is book-selling.

Also, you should check out Independent Bookshops Association of India which is still building its membership.

For the record, I do not own, run, or have a financial stake in any bookshop — though I do know several owners personally — and no one has paid to be included in this map and list.

Support your local small and indie bookshops!

You can mess around with this embedded map here, zooming in and out and clicking on the icons and all that, but you can also choose to see it on Google Maps, where you can do things like get directions.

This list is sorted by state, city, locality, name (with the ‘the’ parts moved to the end, for example, ‘The Bookshop’ becomes ‘Bookshop, The’), and, where possible, with links to web sites. You can also see this spreadsheet here, where you can choose to sort by any of the headers.