If you hold a book dear to your heart, wish that the smell of old books could be bottled and smelt forever, and smile at inscriptions, Colaba’s secondhand book-shopping market is just the treasure chest for an explorer like you. We’ve mapped it out for you. The beginning of the journey: If you start your way from CST and walk towards Flora Fountain, you will find the first row of shops to the right, and that’s where our book trail begins.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP13Keep in mind that in most stalls the discount is 50 per cent of the original price, but if you buy in bulk, and talk right, you can get an even better deal. This market is open from 10am–8.30pm.

Jagdeep Pandey Books

We’d visit the first shop on this street owned by a man named Jagdeep Pandey for a flashback to children’s fiction – he had all our favourite books by children’s writers Jacqueline Wilson and Judy Blume. We loved seeing all our old favourites here, plus almost everything by Bill Bryson.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP20Amarjeet Books

The second in line, you will find this shop next to Communications electronics store. We spoke to a man sitting and reading on a stool there, and he said that he likes coming here in the evening after work as this place has a personal touch. We were floored by their collection of classics, old orange-and-white Penguins classics, thumbed through beautiful editions of Little Women, Franz Kafka, Zorba the Greek, Pride & Prejudice, and lesser known books by Jack London and Edgar Allan Poe.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP19You’ll also find really cool cartoon books: special edition collections of Calvin & Hobbes, Asterix, and sets of superhero comic collections: Iron Man, X Men, Rick Randon, which are otherwise rare or expensive.

#LBBTip: The man selling books here is very intuitive and knows on the basis of your choice the kind of books you would like, so get ready for a book-predictor, if you will.

Dilip Book Store

Last on this lane before we cross over to the left is Dilip Book Store. They keep a lot of fiction and a little non-fiction along with coffee-table books. We spotted good copies of popular books like The Fault In Our Stars, The Lee Child, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar, Linda Goodman and if you are feeling a little misguided, Chetan Bhagat too. We also glanced upon a beautiful coffee table book named My Love, Budapest {INR 500}. If to read is to travel without feet, then this sounds perfect. The prices of the books are usually between INR 100-150.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP5#LBBTip: If you give it back within a period of time, they pay you 50 per cent of the book price back. If you read and give it back whenever, you get 30 per cent of the cash back.

Friends Book Stall

When you cross the road and come to the left, the first shop {towards CST} is Friends Book Stall.

Come here for great coffee table books {on subjects as varied on Paris theatre and Dharavi’s culture}, Reader’s Digests’ Encyclopedias {these are the best}, and dictionaries.

Love reading romance? Get your Nora Roberts and Georgette Heyer fix here. Other finds: Paul Theroux, Naguib Mahfouz, I am Malala, Philip Pullman, Adrian Mole.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP10Ardesh Yadav Books

Next up, you’ll find a shop by a fellow named Ardesh Yadav. Look for more eclectic books by Ben Okri and Richard Bach {Jonathan Livingston Seagull, anyone?} and books by the snazzy Anuja Chauhan and other comedy-romance writers too.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP12#LBBTip: Contact him on +919769784914 to check for the titles you want, and he will even arrange for titles before you come.

Sajjan Books

If you aren’t already weighed down by a bag of books, walk a step further. Apart from secondhand books, Sajjan sells new books at a discount similar or heavier to the links of your online book stores. For example, a new original copy of Jaya’s Mahabharata can be found at INR 375.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP4#LBBTip: You can call him on +917738264757 to check for the titles you want, and he will even arrange for titles before you come.

Dinesh Books

Dinesh’s shop marks the fourth in the row and proudly displays huge coffee table books and handbooks. Apart from the usual Khaled Hosseinis and John Grishams which every seller puts up, we found a slightly more curated collection here such as Sophie’s World, A Brief History of Seven Killings and books by Nick Hornby. Do also check them for a good collection of cookbooks and travel guides {Lonely Planet in particular}.

#LBBTip: You can contact him at +91986791852 to check for the titles you want, and he will even arrange for titles before you come.

Satish Book Stall

Stop right here because you’ve just hit a jackpot. Say hello to the Du Maurier’s lined up, Margaret Atwood’s books and unseen editions of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and also one on our to-read list: A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif. Inside, we found classic gems by less commercially known writers like Paul Gallico, and books such as the Just William! series by Richmal Crompton.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP6If you grew up on the Wishing Chair, Malory Towers and other Enid Blyton books, you’ll find them all here.

Jaiswal Book Store

Jaiswal Bookstore is a smaller book stop with a little bit of everything- fiction, non-fiction, statistics books {they had a big collection of these}, textbooks, travel books and guides for when you must wander off on a vacation.

Anurag Book Store

We’d say be a little wary of newer books here as they may be replica copies, but their secondhand book collection is going strong. They had a wonderful Warren Buffet hardcover set which we are keeping our eyes on.

19082016-FloraBookstore-AP15#LBBTip: You can contact the owner at +917666057448  to check for the titles you want, and he will even arrange for titles before you come.

Rajinder’s Stall

Rajinder here seems to be fond of the S’s: Sidney Sheldons, Stieg Larsson and Salman Rushdie are some of the books found in abundance. A big fat copy of Vikram Seth’s almost 1,500-page novel Suitable Boy is available here too. {for INR 500} Another gem is an original hardbound collection of Thomas Hardy books, which fans should come and grab at once.

Roy Books

Last in this row, give this place a few minutes of your time. You will find light-hearted humour and comedy in editions of Archies Digest and Betty and Veronica only for INR 20, and laugh at Supandi’s tales in Tinkle too. If books are the motivation you need for healthy living and eating, look here for many diet, wellness and self-help books too.

#LBBTip: Call Manzur, a helper here on 9619645226 to request for the comics you’re feeling nostalgic about.

So, We’re Saying…

Book-lover, you have completed a massive journey. You must be tired, your arms a little worse for the wear and your heart exhilarated by the books you have found and mentally bookmarked for the next time. Come back next week, and don’t forget to return the tomes you’ve finished so we can find them next time too.

Photos: Athul Prasad/LBB