It was quite by chance that ‘Bookworm’ Krishna, one of the go-to persons for all bibliophiles in the city, ended up selling books in 1997 rather than onions.
Recounting how he came to sell books 25 years ago, Krishna Gowda said after completing his pre-university, he had to seek a job due to financial constraints at home. “My uncle had an onion shop in Mysuru and asked me to work at the shop during the day and join an evening college. But Mayee Gowda of Blossom Book House, also from my village, Rangasamudra, in Mysuru, had already come to Bengaluru and was selling books on the pavement of M.G. Road and asked me to work with him. That’s how I ended up selling books in 1997 and have never looked back since then,” he said.
To mark the 25th anniversary of his stepping into this business, one of his loyal customers V.R. Ferose has made a documentary titled ‘The Bookman of Bengaluru’, which will be screened at Bangalore International Centre on Sunday evening.
From 1997-2001, he worked with Mr. Mayee Gowda, even as he pursued undergraduate studies in an evening college. He branched out on his own, starting Bookworm, initially on the pavement of M.G. Road in January 2001 and moved into a shop in 2004. At one point, he owned three shops, including one dedicated to children’s books. Now Bookworm runs out of a sprawling two-floor shop on Church Street. “If I have grown, it is only thanks to the bibliophile community of Bengaluru and their support. While the book trade has been financially rewarding, it is probably the only trade that is also intellectually rewarding,” said Mr. Krishna Gowda.
City-based historian Ramachandra Guha, a loyal customer of Bookworm, said he loved browsing and buying books at the store. “I am not partial between Blossom Book House and Bookworm and buy books from both. A city like Bengaluru should have had very good public libraries and in their absence, people like Krishna are filling the gap to some extent,” he said. He will also be speaking at the event on Sunday.
Bookworm to soon expand its footprint online
Bookworm will soon expand its footprint online with a mobile app where you can browse the catalogue, order books, and get them home delivered. “Readers have today increasingly moved online. So we are also moving there,” said Mr. Krishna Gowda of Bookworm. A new branch of Bookworm will likely come up on the Outer Ring Road near Hosakerehalli from where the online business will operate, by year-end, he said.