The Select Bookshop in Bangalore still retains its old-world charm.
The bookstore boom in Bangalore has meant the arrival of big corporate chains which offer a lot beside books. But these have in no way dimmed the charm of the much-loved antiquarian book store of Bangalore, The Select Bookshop started way back in 1945. If anything, the old world store off Brigade Road seems more precious than ever before, no less than a landmark of the city.
A wide variety
The store is crammed with unusual and rare second-hand books on a variety of topics ranging from Oriental literature to architecture and gardening. What makes the store extra special is its amiable owner, K.K.S. Murthy, who knows every book, and more often than not, will tell you an interesting story or two on how he came to acquire it.
The shop was started by Murthy's bibliophile father K.B.K. Rao, who turned his love for collecting books into a business enterprise. He often travelled from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh to Bangalore to pick out rare books at auctions and eventually started Select here. Mr. Murthy, who was working as an aeronautical engineer in the United States, followed his father's footsteps into the book trade in the 1970s.
Even as he worked in New Jersey, Mr. Murthy's weekends were dedicated to scouting for precious books for his father back home. He can vividly recall chancing upon some “extraordinary rejects” in the backyard of Barnes and Noble, such as a rare collection of Carl Jung's writings.
Over the years Select has retains its dedicated clientele and new people keep walking in, having heard of this quaint place by word of mouth. The shop has had its share of illustrious customers, including C.V. Raman, Philip Spratt, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar and Ruskin Bond.
Select now also has its own imprint, which has brought out some valuable books such as a reprint of Ananda Coomaraswamy's Time and Eternity. The first floor of the shop is an art gallery.
Keywords: The Select Bookshop