At a time when it isn’t unusual to hear of iconic bookshops shutting down, news of one expanding to a bigger space makes Christmas feel a lot cheerier. The nearly 65-year-old Bahrisons Booksellers, the landmark store in Delhi’s Khan Market, opened a new branch in Gurugram, adjoining the Capital, on 15 December, in association with Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters. The location, Galleria Market in Phase IV, seems near perfect, with its mix of luxury and high-street brands.
The new store, spread over roughly 2,200sq. ft, is quite spacious compared to its Khan Market origins. It is called The Library—Books, Magazines, Coffee. Perched on the second floor, the sun streams in generously through its large windows, offering a view of treetops. The store offers a good mix of hard-bound classics, non-fiction, cookbooks, and coffee-table books, as well as a section dedicated to children’s books.
Beyond the bookshelves is a Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters counter that offers aromatic coffee and snacks to nibble on, with seating around several tables, some of which spill over to the balcony.
Bahrisons’ Rajni Malhotra credits her husband, Anuj Bahri, for the idea: “This is his brainwave. He felt there was a need for a good book store in Gurugram, where there is a huge readership and potential, like young families with children. We are planning workshops, enactments and author readings. All the shelves here have wheels so they can be pushed against the wall to allow seating for about 100 people.”
“Coffee and books go so naturally together,” chips in her daughter, author Aanchal Malhotra, who is keen to see The Library become a vibrant space for children, a step up from the stand-alone Bahri Kids store in Khan Market.
The threat from online book sales has not dimmed their spirit. “It’s challenging, but books are not going out of fashion anytime soon. These days, you need to improvise,” says Rajni, who also looks after Bahrisons’ social media presence. “You need to create a buzz around a book. You need to make the customer feel wanted.”