A treasure trove of knowledge

Nivedita Ganguly
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Second-hand book stores sell books at almost 30 percent of the actual price

The joy of reading:A vendor's son browsing through books at a second hand book stall in Visakhapatnam. —Photo: K.R. Deepak
The joy of reading:A vendor's son browsing through books at a second hand book stall in Visakhapatnam. —Photo: K.R. Deepak

Not many would expect a treasure trove of literature amidst dusty mounds of books. Second-hand book stores are a secret chamber of knowledge that can pleasantly surprise any book lover with unusual collections, sometimes rare ones too. A rare such finding on a hot summer afternoon was at SK Book Stall near Turner's Choultry in the city.

For over 30 years, S.K. Rehman has been preserving his collection of pre-owned books, right from novels, short stories and biographies to books for various entrance exams, self-help books, management and engineering textbooks. Costing as little as Rs.30 to Rs.300 – almost 30 per cent of the actual price – the books are on varied subjects.

Despite the invasion of technology, which offers e-books, information and textbooks on the internet, there are people still looking for the written word on the pavements and second-hand bookstores continue to attract many. “In the vicinity of this area, there are 25 second-hand book stores. You should come in the evenings to see the rush for people in the stores,” says Rehman.

There are many children's classics like Black Beauty, Heidi, Kidnapped decently stacked up in a row. Amidst these, one can catch a glimpse of the masterpieces of D.H. Lawrence and Leo Tolstoy eager to tell the classical tales of love, war and peace. A decent collection of comics of Chacha Chowdhary and Laurel Hardy are also piled up in the rows.

The stores also attract several students gearing up for various entrance exams and the ones aiming for higher studies abroad.

The ones who cannot to afford to buy new textbooks flock to the second-hand bookstores and scour through the piles of dusty books.

“In fact, getting second-hand books makes a lot of sense as once the exams get over the books are of no use,” says S. Arvind, an intermediate second year student. Among students, there is a high demand for pre-owned books and many also take the books on hire for a day or two for reference.

Books on EAMCET, UPSC exams to GRE and TOEFL preparation guide, Botany and Zoology and Industrial Marketing, Function and Calculus and a whole range of other books find a place in these stores.

  • The stores attract students gearing up for various entrance exams

  • Despite the invasion of technology, book stores continue to attract customers

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