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Old Book Stores in Sri Lanka

May 17, 2011

Haven’t blogged in a while, which isn’t quite surprising if you knew my previous attempts at blogging. But hey, I am still here. Blogging today because I came across something pretty cool and just had to share. Salon has done a wonderful slideshow/presentation on the most inspiring bookstores in the world. Click here and be in awe. Some absolute gems in there, like John K King in Detroit, about whom Salon writes:

‘Cardboard signs, musty paperback aromas, and a hand-scrawled map out of a Wes Anderson panic attack are your only tour guides as you lose track of time and the person you came with. Outside, it’s urban decay. Inside, it’s a creaking, pulsing monument to how much Kindles suck’

I want to go here: John K King Bookstore, Detroit. Photo credit: Justin Baker

The last comment – about why Kindles suck – got me worked up as inane shit like this usually does. Let me state this right out: I hate e-books, audio books, e-book readers, etc., And I love old book stores. If you are Sri Lankan like me, you’ll know that a number of our mainstream bookstores are – how to put this kindly? – crap and, like the Kindles, suck. If you like the musty smell of old book stores, like to take your time in exploring the shelves, have a greater selection of books at your grasp, then a more serendipitous atmosphere for bookworms I cannot think of.

Directions: If you are coming from the Union Place direction, pass St Josephs College on your left, take a left prior to the roundabout. If you are coming in from Forte, turn into D R Wijewardene Mawatha off the Forte roundabout, head straight towards Maradana, book stores will be on your left just prior to the Maradana roundabout.

PS: Anyone know of other good old book stores in the Colombo area? Or indeed in Sri Lanka?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Arya permalink
    May 18, 2011 8:39 am

    Senanayake bookshop in Wellawatte! It used to be called The Book Lovers Paradise, think I preferred that better. I used to go there as a little kid and still love going there 🙂 The problem with the bookshops down D R Wijewardene Mw is that they can be quite costly, particularly if your looking for classics. I went there recently, and since I don’t own the entire The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I thought second hand would be the way to go. Thou five for all three was the offer, which is roughly the same price as in an ordinary bookshop. But I bought the entire Shakespeare collection, an old old old old OLD volume, in damn good condition too, for just a grand 😀 Happy purchase indeed! But you can bargain there, that’s a plus point. I haven’t been able to bargain with Senanayake ever. Also, if you have a particular title in mind, I would suggest you check out ALL the bookshops before you purchase, because they all have different editions and prices.
    There is also this antique shop in Kohuwala that has books. If your coming down Dutugemunu street, look out for a big Maxmara building. The antique shop is in the same building. Last time I checked, they had a decent collection of books. You may even find strange titles there 🙂

  2. January 9, 2012 4:13 pm

    you can walk down from saint joseph’s college towards fort railway station. on left hand side you can find number of old book sellers

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