From finding books written by Sigmund Freud,to those written by local authors Appa Balwant Chowk,offers it all
Bus,and car drivers negotiate through the narrow road as book sellers line up their daily fares on the roads,others who own shops start preparing for the day,by adjusting the books on the shelves,elsewhere a group of ethnically unidentifiable teens haggle with a shop keeper for books. Welcome to Appa Balwant Chowk,or better known as ABC.
“The area has a long standing date with history as far as selling books is concerned. Infact its origins go way back to the days of the British Raj when locals opened shops here that sold handmade paper and stationary products. In the late sixties and seventies with the huge boom in education and the need for quality higher education books,ABC became synonymous with it. Infact it is the only place in the city wherein one can find books of all genres,” says Ajay Gokule of Yash Books.
Seconding that thought is Prasanna Mahajan of the Maharashtra Book Depot,the oldest book store in ABC,he says,”We began in the year 1926 and have been selling books ever since. Infact I am the fourth generation bookseller here. From books on medical sciences,to engineering,from MBA entrance exam books to those for the class ten-board exams,they are all available here. We even sell Marathi novels,which are surprisingly very popular amongst the youngsters here.” The colourful by lanes of the Chowk play host to a plethora of students from all fields of academics. Engineers,doctors,lawyers,science,commerce and art graduates,al unite as one under the humble roof to scout for books,journals,guides,question paper sets and other whatnots for the various exams that the city university boards have to offer. Speaking about his shopping list,Amit Kumar Singh,an Engineering student says,”I have been getting all my books from here since I stepped into engineering college. Not only are there books by various authors but they also have a library system wherein at the end of the semester one can return the books and get a half return or extra discount on the books for the next semester.”
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Elaborating about the library system,Vasant Dhamne of the Pradeep Book depot says,”The library system basically works in the way a normal library works. While selling the books we usually sell them at a discount of around 10-15 per cent. While selling the books we also stamp them on the last page to ensure that the book sold belongs to only a particular bookshop. At the end of the semester the student can return the book back provided the fact that no new editions of the same book have hit the stands.”
A Family Affair