AtoZ, Blog Challenge, Books

Vellichor – Bookstores versus online portals


Vellichor means the strange wistfulness of used bookstores. My interpretation of this prompt is a choice between bookstores and online portals, which do I prefer and why. 

Growing up in a joint family in a small town (back in the 80s, it was small), spending on luxuries like books was unheard of.  My mom used to save paisas (yeah back then we had 2,3,5,10,20 paisa coins in circulation) miserly and whenever she would be able to go to Delhi, she would shop at the pavement bookshops on Janpath. She was always foraging for a deal, and thanks to her, I had an awesome library to develop my reading on.

During my teenage, I discovered second hand book shops in Delhi which not only sold pre-loved books but also bought them back. This was hugely helpful on a thrifty budget. I progressed to American bestsellers (pirated versions) from the pavement shops as they were a steal and easily available. British Council Library in New Delhi is the only public library I could ever join and had some great books for me to peruse.

So it was not just the money part but availability of published books that posed an issue for a bookaholic like me. Once I started living in Delhi in the late nineties, life became easier and I began to close on bookstores which would have deals and sometimes pre-loved books too. Initially, these were in minority but over the years, bookstores became a trending hangout spots with a cafe enclosed within it too. Where it was difficult to find one particular store, now it opened branches in various parts of  Delhi NCR.

Also read the review of The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo here 

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Then online portals like Amazon and Flipkart happened which offered doorstep delivery of books. Even books available only in other countries could be ordered online without a minimum fuss. Life became a breeze and I spent countless hours searching for deals to fatten up my bookshelves. Between juggling work and home, it became easier to simply order online.

But to be really honest, there is nothing to beat the sense of browsing in a bookstore. The sight of piles of gorgeous books, shelves upon shelves stacked with my favorite authors and the joy of sitting down on a footstool and leafing through some before buying, is something of a joy for me. Honest confession, I cannot resist bookstores!!! If I pop into one, its rare that I come out without purchasing a treasure. So for me the clear choice is bookstores first and online portals second.

Now that I am back living in my hometown, bookstores is something I am yet to find here. I am doubtful this town has progressed to a proper bookstore. It’s the stationery shops and newsstands that double up with a meagre collection of bestsellers. Back to the online stores for me and they take a huge amount of time to deliver to my pincode now.

Also read the review of The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak here

How about you? What is your preferred mode of book shopping and why? What do you think of my choice? Do share your thoughts with me in the comments below please.


Coming up next is W for Warzlement!!

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For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

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