Mumbai has a lot of bookstores spread about, from a Crossword in gas stations to independent stores and book cafes in the city. But what I love about some of Mumbai’s bookstores is how much they have to offer besides the books, bricks and mortar. It’s a total experience, from finding books I didn’t know about, to drinking one of the best hot chocolates in town. Here are some of my favourites.
Book 'Em: Guide To Bookstores In Mumbai For Every Kind Of Reader
Leaping Windows Café
Situated in Versova, this place has an excellent collection of manga, graphic novels and comics. It is the one-stop shop for such books in the city. It has a cute café with great interiors and funky decor. One of my favourite things here is the hot chocolate in the café, which is one thing you might not want to miss. Find a cosy corner and cuddle up with the hot chocolate and one of their vast variety of comics.
Thís is the biggest bookstore you will see in the most populated part of the city, housed in an old building in Flora Fountain. The moment we entered, this place hits us with the sheer volume of books.
This place also has a café called Food for Thought located in one corner of the bookstore. We haven’t gone through the whole collection because there are more number of books than I could ever read in the entire lifetime. A must-visit if you are exploring South Mumbai, with a good collection of English, Hindi and Regional books.
They call themselves Mumbai’s first-ever large format bookstore, and Titles Waves is one of the most spacious bookstores in the city. Situated in the by-lanes of Pali Hill, Bandra, it’s very easy to spot because of its sheer size, being spread over 8,000 square feet.
Despite its huge size, it gives you the feels of a small bookstore itself, with books, articles, decor and stationery for children to adults, in all sorts of genres.
Wayword & Wise
This is one bookstore you go to if you're seriously looking for something great to read with an equally great recommendation. If you’re coming here, don’t forget to play a game with the book store manager. Tell him your top three books or authors, and he will – by collating your taste and what he’s learned in over a decade in the books business – tell you what to read next,
This is the most well-curated bookstore you will come across in Mumbai. Expect to leave with both your wallet and heart lighter.
Bargain Book Hut
Bargain Book Hut is a chain of concept bookstores with 10 stores across the country that houses titles ranging from health, fiction, non-fiction to art, history, and even photography, if that's your passion.
This quaint store located on 16th Road in Bandra West sells brand new books at unbelievably low prices (lower than any other mainstream bookstore, we promise!)
Books begin at anything around INR 25 with their smallest discount being 10 per cent. It's a great place to discover some good books for kids.
Trilogy is a brilliantly-curated library for books and plot twist: it also plays a double role as a bookshop.
The welcoming owners take it upon themselves to show everyone around, ask about tastes and preferences and recommend books based on it.
Started by a young couple, the space is categorically divided – the first two-three rows are part of the bookstore, and the rest belong to the library for you to borrow from.
They have a children’s section, as well as a library for adults with a massive fantasy genre section for those who find reality too boring. You’ll also find yourself in the company of graphic novels, poetry, beautiful hard-bound books and illustrated material. There’s also space for you to just sit and write, if you like.
Granth Book Store
Granth Bookstore in Juhu is just the place to get lost in a good book with a cappuccino (or two.)
It is a two-floor book store, where the books are neatly classified into their sections, starting with new arrivals and bestsellers (an atypical selection, this includes a good mix of Indian, American and even Japanese writers such as Keigo Higashino). Their other rows include humour, poetry, science/mathematics, biographies, Indian fiction, history, philosophy, religion and self-help.
Their Classics section includes Penguin classics, beautifully printed hardcovers by Word Cloud Classics, Octopus Books and Canterbury Classics.
Vasundhara Book Store
An independent bookstore in Powai, Vasundhara is vibrant, offering you a wide selection of books in Hindi, English and even Marathi, focusing on classics and contemporary writers, both Indian and international.
They also stock up on subjects like cinema, theatre, arts, the environment, travel, philosophy and recreation.
While this bookshop isn't very big, it makes up for it with the sheer diversity of its collection.
The staff will go out of their way to help you out and know enough to recommend similar books to the ones you've picked up. You can sit there for as long as you like and pick your favourite tomes to take back home, and we really like the fact that it houses a lot of the lesser known Indian and regional authors.
The city’s most popular bookstore - Crossword - houses books beyond your imagination. From the latest international releases in fiction and non-fiction to smaller indigenous authors, graphic novels to the history of the world – you’ll find it all here. Not just that, if you’re looking to satisfy your stationery needs, this is the place to be.
The store has an impressive collection of books, spanning across regional and foreign languages and ranging from the latest fiction and non-fiction bestsellers to an impressive children’s book collection. Whether you’re there to read up on your next travel destination or experience the world in another perspective, Crossword at Kemps Corner provides you with all the answers.
If you’re a member, you’ll get to be a part of numerous book readings that usually take place during the weekend. Eminent authors visit the bookstore (you get notified if you’re a member), and you can get your own signed copy of your favourite book (we’ve met Jeffry Archer there).
Bibliophiles, waste no time and head to this Crossword to get your favourite reads now. Also, if you want a particular book that’s hard to find, just pass on the information to their helpers and they’ll order it for you.
The Book House
The Book House is one of the oldest secondhand bookstores spreading the love of reading in Mumbai since 1958. It sells secondhand school and college books, along with those useful for medical and engineering students, apart from novels too.
At this bookstore, you can get a variety of secondhand novels for almost half the price. Given that there are colleges in the vicinity, this Matunga bookstore is mostly packed with youngsters looking for popular fiction books by Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat, J.K Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, Stephenie Meyer, E.L James and many more.
It is located right behind Mysore Cafe near Maheshwari Udyan, and Uday, the bookstore owner tells us that nobody goes away without taking a book from here. He also has a secret book collection which he hides and gives only to those who are his oldest customers (isn’t that adorable?) You can always come back to return the book that you purchased and take back the half of the money you paid for the book (50% of the money is refundable).
The time you pass by Matunga, don’t forget to visit this little sanctum and get lost in a story. The book store is open on all days from 10am to 9pm.
Art & Design Bookstore
Art & Design Bookstore has been my favourite find in South Bombay so far. Just off Colaba Causeway (Google Map it, it'll get you here), the bookstore is on the first floor of an old building. Though it's tiny and cramped for space - as are most spaces in the city - it is a delightful independent bookstore dedicated purely to art and design books, magazines, zines and even illustrations. I walked in here, with my bag in tow and was immediately greeted by the sweet, and smiling staff. They didn't hover around much, just asked me if I was looking for something specific.
I love that here you can sit down to read anything (I choose the Platform magazine) and immediately connected to their free WiFi. Yep, it's pretty fast, folks. They have the most diverse collection that has been carefully curated here - from Barefoot Husain to Tony Bevan, and Terry Frost to more utilitarian ones like the architecture of Spain, and the Vanishing Stepwells of India by Victoria Lautman. Most of the books here start around INR 500 and can even go up to INR 10,000 depending on the publishing house, and the rarity.
The space itself has been designed pretty admirably - obscure seats that you can perch yourself on, black tiles on the floors; and lights that belong in a modern art gallery.
It's definitely a design student or a design professional's personal heaven, and though I'm neither - I thoroughly enjoyed sipping on my coffee whilst going through the 11th edition of the 'Garage' magazine.
They serve free coffee here. A shot of espresso or a cuppa black coffee - ask for it and they'll serve it. Also, if you're looking for a particular book, they can arrange for it.