Monday, June 01, 2009

Good Used-Books at Low Prices

The book-lover is bothered by the rising cost of books. Some have also gravitated towards buying pirated copies of books. In a world where everyone wants to spend the minimum to get the maximum pirated movies and pirated books are a major source of income to many entrepreneurs and source of joy to many book-lovers and movie-lovers. A Sidney Sheldon thriller that costs Rs 250 to Rs 300 in Landmark is available for Rs 50 to Rs 60 in many of the pavement stalls that dot Chennai.

But not all books make it to the pavement in its pirated form. Only the books by Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, Frederick Forsyth, Paulo Coelho, Stephen R. Covey, Linda Goodman, Robert Ludlum, Arundhati Roy, Arvind Adiga and a few other chosen ones make it to the pavement.

The other option is to visit the many used-book shops to find old forgotten novels and comics. Indulge in nostalgia from childhood and an age of innocence when one fought with siblings to read Enid Blyton and Asterix and the Biggles series. Adolescence was devoted to the exploits of the Hardy boys, Nancy Drew and the Three Investigators.

I am listing a few of my favourite haunts in Chennai to find old books.

1-Moore Market

This has been my favourite ever since I started college and went hunting for copies of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” Moore Market has a long chequered history. The current suburban railway complex is where the original Moore Market stood. My uncle used to say you could get each and every type of electronic item, exotic perfumes and various birds here. The biggest section was reserved to rows of book stalls. A planned fire led to the shop-keepers to be evacuated. A new complex (the current one) was built but many shop-keepers left the place. Today one finds most of the shops selling engineering books. Only about 12 shops spread across three floors sell novels and magazines. There are some shops that sell stamps and coins. The current complex has a lot of shops that sell exotic fishes, aquariums and related equipment. I visit the place and browse through the books. Some of the gems that I got here include: “An Anthology of American Poetry”(Got for Rs 350) a bargain as a new one costs about Rs 2000. The original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming at Rs 30 a piece. A new one at Landmark costs around Rs 200. Four Agatha Christie novels at Rs 45 a piece. The books look new and none of the pages are missing.

2-Adjacent GPO on Mount Road

There are about four stalls on the pavement on Mount Road adjacent to the GPO. Three sell pirated new novels. The fourth shop sells old books on a wide variety of topics. Novels starting from Rs 10 to coffee table books selling at Rs 500. I have picked many Enid Blyton novels here for Rs 10 and Rs 20. Other buys include an encyclopedia on dogs for Rs 200.(a picture book with details on breeds and health care tips for dogs). Lots of pulp fiction thrillers for Rs 20 and Rs 30.

Folks more shops coming soon. Cross-posted on Art, Books, Cinema and Music.


Aswin Kini said...

Buddy! You forgot the best place in Chennai to buy second-hand books and Novels, PYCROFTS ROAD in Thiruvellikeni(Triplicane). History says that Triplicane is also known as the book-lover's paradise as well as Bachelor's paradise.

mahesh said...

Hi Ashwin,
U skipped my line in the last para. "More shops coming soon."
Yes, Triplicane is a great place to buy books a super place with loads of mansions and some of the best street-food in the whole city.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.