City Landmark – Anil Book Corner, Connaught Place
A bookstore’s longtime life.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Buying books isn’t at all out of fashion. (Just ask book-loving online shoppers like The Delhi Walla.)
But bookstores are another story altogether. In recent years, they’ve been shutting down across the city, one after the other.
However, not all literary landmarks have disappeared. The lively Anil Book Corner at Connaught Place, established in 1972, has already outlived founder Anil Kumar and continues to offer a soothing time-tested experience: You don’t just turn up here to riffle through rare classics; you are rather more likely to bargain for a bundle of second-hand works.
Passersbyhere are confronted with a literal tower of Daniel Steele paperbacks leaning precariously alongside the stack of Jackie Collins’. Here are rows of faded Lonely Planet along a smattering of the most unexpected. Such as The London Property Guide and Self-Esteem Comes in All Sizes.
Here, three Ruth Rendell paperbacks might be yours for maybe 250 rupees.
You could bargain with the staffers. They include the wife and son of late Mr Kumar, who passed away in 2017, and longtime staffer Vinod, who keeps the enterprise running smoothly. The long-haired Timmy, a friend of the founder, often pops around to lend a helping hand.
While poking about this thriving store you are perhaps reminded that one of the city’s best-known outlets—The Bookworm—closed its doors just a few steps away. Even so, watching Anil’s customers browsing around for favoured authors provides more than a mere measure of hope. And don’t miss to look out for a framed portrait hanging on the wall inside–that’s Anil Kumar, one of our city’s foremost bookshop pioneers.
Life after the founder’s passing away