Death of a landmark.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Founded in 1984, Fact & Fiction, Delhi’s most eclectic bookstore, will soon close.
“In a few weeks from now, I will be bringing down the curtain on Fact & Fiction, a small bookshop I started in New Delhi, more than 30 years ago,” says the bookstore owner Ajit Vikram Singh on the website daily O.
In a rather playfully teasing yet hurtful note, Mr Singh says, “The city now has one less indie bookshop: A city that has had too few bookshops to begin with, and hardly any noteworthy chain store, the likelihood of another bookstore coming up and making a difference is pretty slim. Especially in this current environment of reduced retail sale and high rentals. On that count alone, it’s an irreparable loss. I maintain books are highly tactile objects and cannot be sold on the internet alone. The art of browsing and the serendipity of finding unconnected books are hard to emulate in the virtual world. The number of people who come in to find books, then to compare prices on their smartphones, while the slightly sensitive ones merely photograph the book and then order from home, only goes to validate my point. The books, which customers take for granted, are there in the shop because of booksellers’ perseverance.”
In the next few days Delhi’s heritage lovers should visit the bookstore to archive it in their cameras. Meanwhile, The Delhi Walla once again celebrates Fact & Fiction Booksellers through photographs taken across the years.
We’ll always have amazon.com
1a. (Ajit Vikram Singh)