Image source: The City Story
Image source: The City Story

Mumbai’s iconic bookstore Strand Book Stall is having a huge sale where you can grab your favourite titles at 40 percent discount. But the sale this time is a bit different from the usual sales the bookstore holds. This time it is the final one. The discounts are to clear all the stock. Reason? The 70-year-old bookstore is closing its shutters on February 28 forever. The iconic bookstore served bibliophiles for over 70 years and had over a lakh title ranging from classics to fitness.

Started in 1948 by Padmashree TN Shanbagh as a book kiosk at Stand Cinema Hall, Strand Book Stall was moved to its Dhannur Building in 1956. Shanbagh had come to Mumbai from Karnataka after he took admission at St Xavier’s College. Once after he felt unwelcome at a bookstore, he decided to start his own which will be open for customers even for browsing and where books were affordable. The bookstore was set up with Rs 450. Strand Books Stall was known for its heavy discounts, polite staff, and personalised recommendations. Shanbhag used to import books from England and would sell it at a discount at 20 percent.

The Strand Book Stall soon became a city legend and was often frequented by popular personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru, APJ Abdul Kalam, RK Laxman and Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is said that once Nehru was spirited inside the store for a night after the store shut so he could browse in peace.

Shanbhag’s daughter Vidya Virkar joined the business in 1994. With the introduction of e-books, online sale of books at e-commerce sites and digitisation, the store succumbed. Virkar initially sensed the impact of digitisation and e-commerce sites and shut her stores in Bengaluru. Since Shanbhag’s death in 2009, the bookstore was looked after his daughter and son Arun Shanbhag and the store has been ailing since then. February 27 marks the ninth death anniversary of the founder and February 28 will mark the day when the store will be closed.

After the reports of the bookstore’s closure broke on February 21, it is filled with customers scanning the shelves for hidden treasures. Almost half of the stock has been cleared while the rest are being sold at a heavy discount and on weight.

If it’s already been a long time since you visited a bookstore we recommend you to visit Strand Book Stall and walk back with a bagful of memories and books.

Address: Strand Book Stall, 15-C, Dhannur Building, Sir Phirozshah Mehta Road, Borabazar Precinct, Fort.
Open 10am to 6.30pm until 28 February 2018

Book lovers shared their love for Strand Book Stall on Twitter:

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