There is no such thing as too many books right? And feeding into this addiction is our handy list of bookstores that you need to check out in Chennai. While we love our Kindles, this gadget can never replace the business of browsing through books, feeling them, stocking up on loads of them and then reading them of course. Come, let’s go on a book shops in Chennai crawl right away.
Books Piled High In A Garage To An Iconic Heritage One, These Bookstores In Chennai Are Lit
India’s oldest bookstore, Higginbotham’s, is located in the hub of the city in its colonial building on Anna Salai. Opened since 1844, Higginbotham’s started off as a religious bookstore and eventually grew to housing books across genres and fields. Apart from having the tag of the oldest living bookstore in India, Higginbotham’s has one of the best collections of book in the city. Although headquartered in Chennai, Higginbotham’s has operations in Bangalore and few other southern cities since 1891. It has recently opened another outlet inside Writer’s Cafe in Royapettah, and the Chennai Airport too.
This bookstore which started in the 2000s won the heart of Chennaiites very soon. Selling a host of different items from stationery to perfumes to gift items, Odyssey specialises in books and has three floors dedicated to different kinds of books in its Adyar and Thiruvanmyiur branches. From genres ranging from fiction to satire to romance, Odyssey has something for everybody. With plush interiors and courteous staff, your book shopping is different going to be fun!
Popularly called ‘The Biggest Little Bookshop’, Giggles has been around since 1974. Nalini Chettur started this tiny bookstore inside the hotel Taj Connemera with a space of about 100 square feet. However, in 1993 she was forced to move out of the building to set up her shop near the parking lot of the hotel. Her loyal customers often say that no matter what book Nalini’s customers want, she would arrange for it within a day or 2 regardless of it being in any city. Just off the Anna Salai on Binny Road, Giggles was rated one of top the places to go to in Chennai by The Lonely Planet.
Tara Books, situated in Thiruvanmyiur is not your average bookstore. They not only publish and make their own tomes, cards and fluke books, but also try to infuse interesting concepts, quirky designs and pictures to their work. Children’s books is what their inventory is dominated by, but they also do lovely art and design books. This award winning publishing company was founded by Gita Wolf, who started it about 20 years ago and has also focused on content influenced by feminism and social justice via gorgeous, hand-made books. With English, Tamil and German books in the store, this bookstore is one among a few that tries to infuse Indian culture and the work of Indian artisans in the production of these books.
This massive bookstore has operations in many parts of India. In Chennai, they have outlets in popular places like Alwarpet and Forum Mall, and they stock the widest genres of books from the fields of philosophy, fiction, fantasies and fun. They even sell toys, accessories and stationery, making it a popular choice among all age groups. They even have a coffee shop inside their bookstore in Alwarpet for the bookworms to sip some coffee as they read their new favourite book. Don’t forget to check out the ‘Crossword Recommended’ labels!
Eeshwar book store was set up in T Nagar in 1985 with just over 1,000 books. It has now expanded to a space of 7,000 square feet with over 1 lakh books. Although it runs a parallel e-book site which is one of Asia’s largest, the bookstore sells books across different fields of education, research, comics and novels among others.
Now who doesn’t know Starmark? With five outlets in Kolkata and two in Chennai, Starmark has all kinds of books and stationery that you could think of. Although they do not cater to all sorts of genres and labels, Starmark is the place to go to for newer comics, novels and informative books. Tucked into the two most popular malls of Chennai – Express Avenue and Phoenix Marketcity, Starmark has given the traditional bookstore a tough competition.
Rare Books is a bibliophile’s treasure trove, based out of the owner’s garage space in an apartment in Raja Annamalaipuram. A complete antithesis to a 21st century shopping experience, this little shop stores rare books all the way from the 1860s. A shop that started almost a decade ago, Rare Books has close to 5,000 books spanning various genres such as literature, history, philosophy, culture, heritage and the arts. If you’re a geography geek, swing by to browse through more than a thousand editions of the National Geographic magazine at the store.