Celebrating Women-Run Bookstores in India: A Literary Journey Across the Nation

I love bookstores! I enjoy spending hours browsing, reading, and sometimes just sitting and enjoying the smell of books. I dream of owning and running my own bookstore someday. While waiting for that dream to come true, I decided to explore some women-run bookstores in India. These stores aren’t different from others, but they are a testament to an area where women are making their presence felt.

Literati, Goa

This bookstore is located in the Calangute area of Goa. It is owned by Divya Kapoor, who has been deeply passionate about literature from a young age.  She opened this place to create a space that celebrates literature and fosters a sense of community. The store has a beautifully curated collection of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and rare finds. Besides the books, the place is known for organising literary events like book readings, authors-meet-and-greets, book launches and discussions. The bookstore also has a cafĂ© where readers can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while reading. The store is known for promoting local authors.

Trivia: The store is located in a charming, restored Goan bungalow, combining Goan architecture with the warmth of a well-loved and cared-for bookstore. This gives the space a unique ambience that takes visitors back to a bygone era while providing a contemporary area for literary activities.

Champaca, Bengaluru

Champaca bookstore is a literary haven founded by Radhika Timbadia, a woman driven by her love for books. Her passion for literature led her to establish Champaca, a bookstore that is more than just a place to buy books. It is a cultural hub that unites the city’s residents through the power of storytelling and creativity. The store offers diverse books, spanning fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature. It also features a cafĂ© and hosts regular literary events, including book readings,  author discussions, workshops and cultural performances. The store has formed book clubs and reading groups, providing a platform for members to connect and share their insights. Radhika wanted to build a bookstore that focused on diversity and under-represented authors, themes and ideas, a library for children, and a community of people to appreciate the same, and that is what she has done.

Trivia: The store is named after the Champaca flower, known for its fragrance and cultural significance in India and Southeast Asia.

Quill And Canvas Gurgaon

This is an independent bookstore cum art gallery located in Gurgaon. The bookstore is known for its carefully curated selection of books, vibrant art exhibitions and engaging literary events, which include author interactions, book discussions, book readings and book launches. The driving force behind the bookstore is Shobha Sengupta, who is passionate about literature and profoundly appreciates the arts. She founded the store to bring both her passions together.

Trivia: With its dual focus on literature and art, Quill and Canvas is a unique cultural space in Gurgaon. Combining a bookstore and an art gallery allows visitors to immerse themselves in literature and visual arts, creating a rich and multi-faceted cultural experience. The store’s used books section is a unique feature and a huge draw, as few stores offer this.

The Bookshop Inc, New Delhi

When in 2023, book lovers in Delhi got the heartbreaking news about the shutting down of another bookstore, they also heard something that redeemed their faith in the culture of reading. They heard that though the store was shutting down, it would be replaced by another one in a different location. That was how The Bookshop Inc. came into being in 2023. The legacy of the erstwhile The Bookshop in Jor Bagh was taken over by Sonal Narain, who had been a part owner of the store in Jorbagh.  The store boasts a carefully curated selection of books. They don’t always stock mainstream titles and keep their focus on quality. Adding to the city’s literary landscape, the store regularly hosts literary bets for like-minded people to connect.

Trivia: It is one of the few stores set up to keep alive a passion. We have seen several stores shut down for one reason or another. Still, in the case of The Bookshop Inc., the owners decided to keep the legacy alive by giving it a different name and location while keeping the original ethos alive.

Storyteller Bookstore, Kolkata

This independent bookstore in the heart of Kolkata offers a wide range of books but focuses on children’s literature. The bookstore is a dream come true for Mayura Misra, who is passionate about literature, particularly children’s literature. She founded the store to create a space where children could discover the joy of reading and storytelling. Since its inception, it has become the favourite destination for families, educationists, and book enthusiasts in Kolkata. It regularly hosts author events, book readings, storytelling sessions and workshops for children and adults.

Trivia: The owner of the bookstore, Mayura Misra, developed a love for reading thanks to her mother, who was a librarian. The desire to have a bookplate was instilled in her during her childhood.

Luna Bookstore, Hyderabad

Located in the quiet streets of Jubilee Hills, this bookstore is in an inviting space that exudes the ambience of a personal library. Adorned with vintage elements such as a functional retro landline phone, the dark wood furniture immediately captures the visitor’s attention. Upon entering, a sizable table displays a curated selection of books carefully handpicked by the founders every month. Luna Books is the brainchild of a pair of sisters, Shilpa and Sapna Sudhakar, from Hyderabad, who noticed the city’s lack of good independent stores, unlike Bangalore or Mumbai, where the reading culture is still thriving.

In an age filled with urgency and self-help books promising to bring your life closer to perfection, Luna Bookstore cuts through the pretence and invites you to discover the magic of reading. You can find a variety of genres here, including children’s fiction, non-fiction, thrillers, romance, and light reads. They also offer some collectables if you want to collect complete sets of your favourite books. Also, there is a section specifically for works by LGBTQ+ authors. The bookstore aims to showcase talented writers who are often overlooked but deserve a place in your library. The founders believe every book has a reader; it just needs time to be discovered.

Trivia: It’s a venture by two sisters passionate about books and bookstores.

So, if you are a woman and a book lover, you can take inspiration from these dynamic women to make your book dreams come true.

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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