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Paper & Ink - Book Browsing in Kolkata

Remember bookstores? The smell, the selection, the search...

Although Luxury in India writes stories about India, there is still something unique about the search for stories in an old (or new) bookstore.



Did you love bookstores as a kid? Did you have a bibliophile parent who would take you with them to the store?

Are you one of the people who tilted your head uncomfortably sideways to scrutinise the spines looking for a name to jump out?

There is often quiet respect by customers in a bookstore.

Bookstores are not libraries; there is no specific requirement to remain quiet around the books.

But how many bookstores have you visited where the people were calm, contemplative and focused on the prize. Customers pay respect to the books, the authors, the paper, the words and ideas.

Literature in Kolkata

India has a mighty literary history.

And one city in India which has more than its fair share of talent is Kolkata.

A long list of Bengali poets and writers fills the history of Indian literature.

Search "India's first Nobel Prize winner" and start to understand the depth of success originating from the city.

Therefore it feels like you are part of something special if you meander up and down the aisle of a bookstore in Kolkata. Your head tilted uncomfortably, looking for the next satisfying journey in ink.

Selection of Bookstores in Kolkata

Below are some of the stores you can lose yourself in (and hurt your neck) on your next great book search -

1. Chakraborty and Chatterjee

Established in 1910, Chakraborty and Chatterjee is one of the oldest bookstores in the city. It carries a selection of Indian and foreign language books, rare works and special first editions.

2. Seagull Books

An attractive and appealing store showcases a range of books. You will find works by giants like Tariq Ali and Max Frisch, and an interesting array of European literature translated into English.

3. National Bookstore

Established by one of Kolkata's oldest educational institutions, Presidency University, founded in 1817, the National Bookstore has been a go-to store for local students for years. It houses educational books and non-fiction and fiction housed in a building that gives a feel of history as you browse.

4. Earthcare

Earthcare is a unique store supplying modern and niche selections of books. Earthcare focuses on environmental and social issues and is also involved in various sustainability projects alongside providing a wonderful collection of specialist books.

5. Dey’s Publishing

One of the oldest bookstores in Kolkata, their collection includes poetry, novels, essays, travel writing etc. Dey's Publishing is a well-known name in the city and publishes many titles each year.

6. Dasgupta & Co

You might find that rare book you are searching for in the collection at Dasgupta & Co. Around since the 19th century, it is also home to various selections in regional languages and Bengali language literature.

7. The Piccadilly bookstore

Another in the line of original bookstores in Kolkata, The Piccadilly is a well-known second-hand bookstore. Although they stock new titles, the old, rare editions lining the shelves bring in the crowd.

Let me know your bookstore memories. Comment below.

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