Enjoy The Company Of Old Books At The Best Second Hand Bookstores In Chennai

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It is unlikely that there is anything that brings more joy to a bibliophile than the crumbling, yellowing pages and the unmistakable scent of a book already held, read and cherished. Discover these treasures that have surpassed boundaries and withstood the test of time with this list of the best second-hand bookstores in Chennai.

Moore Market

Moore Market, located a short distance away from the bustle and noise of the iconic Central Station, has long been a destination for buyers of used books. In its many shops lie scores of books spanning genres like fiction, non-fiction, science, geography, literature, and economics. Copies of classics and contemporary bestsellers by western and Indian writers line the shelves, but it is Moore Market’s collection of academic reference books — old, new and rare — that is its main draw. The sellers are efficient and know their stock, and even help source a book especially for you. Prices aren’t fixed, so everyone bargains.

Rare Books

An unassuming garage in RA Puram houses a gold mine of the printed word. Nestled in an old, quiet apartment block, Rare Books, is a musty room, with its cold stone floor, numerous bursting boxes and overstuffed bookshelves that have first editions (including the very first editions of the Penguin series), books long out of print, Tamil literature, front pages of newspapers from the 1930s, National Geographic, Modern Review and Illustrated Weekly magazines from the early half of the century, and a well-preserved set of illustrations by political cartoonists like RK Laxman. 

W+ H Book Search

Another such bookstore, which was, incidentally, born using the foundation of a large collection of Rare Books’ books and later expanded, is the W+H Book Search in Anna Nagar. Amidst vintage-style telephone apparatuses and old-worldly clocks, one finds books about Madras and a large collection of maps. Those curious to know of the history of the city would be particularly intrigued and amused by cartographic records from the early 50s depicting a city that has changed dramatically since.

Berkshire Books

Berkshire Books in Nungambakkam is a must-visit for its neatly arranged, thematically organised sections. The collection ranges from BBC travel books and coffee table books to modern fiction of critical acclaim, chick-lit, classic crime novels, and quite enough for the Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel or John Grisham fans. Book topics range from animals, natural history and golf to knitting, gardening and yoga. The books are in excellent condition and sold by weight – one kilogram costs INR 250 – and the stock is replenished regularly.

Thatha Used Book Store

Now this is what we call iconic. Having been there for over 80 years, Thatha Used Book Store has been collecting books since forever. From the earliest editions of National Geography and Tinkles, you will find the newest entry of fictional John Green books in the market starting at INR 50. They even have SAT and GRE papers. Our pick was their tiny cupboard where they stored some old journals dated back to the British Raj.

Om Adhiparasakthi Old Book Shop

Brush up your school knowledge or ace your papers with Om Adhiparasakthi Old Book Shop. As you enter, you will see a signboard which shows that books are available for B.Com.B.L, C.A, Engineering, Medicine, banking and so much many other courses. We also loved the comic sections that had DC and Marvel comics dated back to the 90s, and you can buy them for just INR 150.

Maran Book Centre

With prices starting as less as INR 10 in Maran Book Centre, you can find your favourtie books by Dan Brown and some old editions of Tinkle at the store. The range of pocketbooks on poetry and classics by Shakespeare and Rabindra Nath Tagore is admirable. You will also find a bunch of dictionaries, past year papers and second-hand reference books of R.S Agarwal and R.D Sharma (still a nightmare for us). Don't forget to check out their special Japanese mangas starting at INR 100.

Shreya Ramnath is a trained singer, an avid traveller, and a compulsive Instagrammer. Formerly a teacher of journalism and currently a student of sociology, she enjoys learning new languages for fun and writes keenly on art and culture.