Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Favourite Second-Hand Bookseller

I'm in two minds about posting this, so I'd better do it quickly before I remember once more why I don't want to write about this.

Do you know Priya Cinema hall on Rashbehari? Just opposite that, in front of Smile Dental Care (I think) is a man who sells second-hand books. He sells them from a little blue cupboard which has been the same size since I first chanced upon him several years ago, and his collection is eclectic. You don't find the books that you're looking for, but you may just find several that you've given up hunting.

Ma and I almost cleared out his collection of Women's Weeklies (300 odd copies), and I bought some fun sex stuff from there. I can't tell you exactly what else I've picked up from him because they are so varied. You know how it is with these small second-hand shops. The other day I went there after a nearly two years, or perhaps more, come to think of it, and didn't like any of the books, but I came away with huge collection of Bunty-Judy-Debbie-Mandys and some Mills'n'Boons. This time, I told him sternly, I have no space for a lot of books and therefore would like to rent them, please. So we settled on a rate: Rs. 2 a day for the comics, and Rs. 5 a day for the M'n'Bs. And the 55 books are to be returned whenever I deem fit. And he gave The Bhablet a kiddy book (of dolls around the world, with cardboard pages) and refused payment for it. Vicky bought some comics, old Top Cat etc, each for Rs. 5.

Now do you see why I love this man???

He prices his books so well. I (used to) pick up a lot of junk from him, reasoning that I could spend Rs. 10 for a read. I wouldn't have spent Rs. 20 for the same book, but at Rs. 10 it was OK. I was in two minds about writing about him because I don't like to give all my discoveries away, but hey, if it keeps him in business, I'm willing to share.

So yeah, if you like, drop by and see if he has anything for you. His resources are limited, but he's a great guy and I like his way of making a sale.


Rohini said...

Why were you thinking twice about writing this?

I was feeling pretty silly about buying trashy, one-time reads too> My solution is a more tech-based version of yours - a website called librarywala.com

Sunita said...

MillsnBoons??? Still?? Great. I thought I was the only loony still reading them :).

Sue said...

Rohini -- Because I don't want to have a lot of people going to him buying the stuff I want to buy. :)

But then, I remembered that I'm not buying any more myself, so it was ok!

Checked out librarywala. Not surprisingly, they don't have anything in Cal. *Sigh*

Sunita -- You kidding? I love them. :P

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Thank you. I hope he's open on Sundays.


Opaline said...

Thankyou. I will go buy the rest of the Debbie Judy Mandys, unless you've bought them all.

Just Like That said...

Does he have any relatives in B'lore with a similar blue cupboard? (colour can be different..)
I used to love browsing on the footpath corners, but now there are hardly any good books...during HArry Potter season, the Cops came down heavily on the book sellers, I believe.
Sunita, I like M&Bs too. (Tho' my hubby kids me that I have no sense of romance in real life!) well enough to pay Rs. 15 for them on the roads.

upsilamba said...

knock, knock?
stopped writing or what!
huff huff, puff puff.

rishabh said...

I've heard theres these beach sops in Goa where foreign travelers simply drop off their books because they ant to get rid of them(excess baggage), apparently everything costs rupees 5-10 there
But yes there's a high probability of finding a Lord of the rings written in hebrew or a Midnights children in Russian

dipali said...

Must visit him!

Random Doodler said...

thank you. That was most informative.

Mona said...

lol! mnb's really?!
i remember going through them in school but haven't read one in ages. i'd be terrified to revisit them :)

panu said...

mills and boons rock. i have been to this guy. he is wonderful.

Grafxgurl said...

oh i cant WAIT to get a hold of some old books when we come to CAl in Dec!!! India is THE place for everything that is comfortably obtainable ( why did i say it like that?!?!)
YAAAAAAY!!! im suddenly so happy!

Sue said...

JAP -- I don't think he is but no harm checking him out.

Opaline -- Nah, I'll be returning them so you can buy them then. Do you want me to let you know when or something?

JLT -- Oh I've heard B'lore does well enough by the way of old books. I wish Select hadn't downed shutters though.

Upsi -- I'm around. Just thinking a lot and saying little.

Rishabh -- Oh you have such shops in all tourist areas. They are really interesting in Nepal.

Dipali -- :) If only for the prices.

Random Doodler -- Sure, any time.

Mona -- Oh you must. Such fun!

Panu -- Such a nice man, no?

Grafx -- And this time will you look me up? Eh? Either way, it'll be great to have you back home for a bit.

kaichu said...

the most and best unexpected secondhand bookplace i came across was this very relaxed cafe/restaurant in Cochin, which had a fairly extensive library of assorted secondhand shabbies, and several great picks among them. And guess what? they were entirely free -- mostly paperbacks left behind by foreigners when they have to leave or something, a lot of general contributions as well.

the proprietor told me that he just lent out his shelves to volumes waiting for the right readers, and that no matter how many free books people just picked up, there were always others to fill up the shelves again, and that people kept returning. he even had a book diary, where you could just jot down what you had discovered, what you had donated, or maybe what you would've liked to have found :)

it was an awesome place. and the food was good too.