By Shriyam Gupta

One of the few stores that’s managed to sustain itself in spite of the sky-rocketing rentals of one of the world’s most expensive markets {Khan Market} and establish a loyal following, is Bahrisons. Meet the Delhiwaala, Mr. Anuj Bahri Malhotra, owner of the Bahrisons bookstore.


Why is the store called Bahrisons?

Mr. Bahri, my grandfather, the original man behind the Bahri brand, migrated to India and began a small store in the Old City dealing in government publications and journals, and called it Bahri Brothers. Mr. Balraj {my father} and his elder brother, Devinder, joined him in the business. When my father wanted to start something new with regard to books, he chose the same brand name Bahrisons, as it was being set up by the two sons of the original Bahri brand.

What do you like most about being a bookstore owner?

The large variety of people you interact with. The monetary benefits may be less, but the respect and pleasure of being around enlightened beings is far greater than monetary compensation.

What kind of books sell the most?

India is a country obsessed with knowledge. Hence understandably, the genre of non fiction and narrative histories are our biggest sellers.

How well read is the average Delhiwaala?

Fairly well read, but not enough – Delhi can certainly do with a little more reading.

Does it annoy you when people hang out at the store for a long time but don’t buy anything?

No! I think it’s an important part of being a bookseller – allowing people to browse. It’s the only way for them to know what is out there. Every bookstore has a different selection, and we must give the customer an opportunity to get a feel of our collection.

One thing authors or publishers could do to better business for you?

Authors and publishers can only make the writing better. The customer rules the market and trends depend on what they like to read. Us booksellers follow what the customers want.

Do you think the Kindle will replace books?

Technology is like fashion- what is in fashion today, might not be tomorrow. But just like fashion, the base of technology always returns. So without doubt, there will be a time where technology, like the kindle, will outsell paper books, but the smell and feel of holding a paper book in your hands may not let the tradition of bookselling die out.

3 books you would recommend to everyone?

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Papillon by Henri Charrière

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi