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Pune's Second hand book store

Book shopsThe dust cover is a little frayed and dog-eared. But where else can you find a handsome hardbound edition of 'The God Of Small Things ' for as little as Rs. 75?
It's a peculiar Pune phenomenon. A cozy bookshop that sells second-hand books at a third of the cover price. With a little luck, you can catch mint-conditioned foreign novels within Rs. 100. Of course, it takes patience and hunting around through stacks of musty books on your knees but as any book lover will attest, isn't that half the fun?
When Cable TV offers 28 channels of entertainment for Rs. 125/- why would anyone pay Rs. 875/- for Ted Hughes' collection of poems - The Birthday Letters?
In such a bleak scenario, these stores make it possible for a book lover to enjoy a good read without paying a King's ransom for it. The catch is that, with zero publicity, even the most avid book lovers don't know of the existence of such places. Presented below are three of Pune's best-kept secrets.

SOPHIA
Above Gajanam Clinic, Near Prem's Restaurant, Koregaon Park.
Sophia is a cozy second-hand bookshop tucked away in a side street of neo-hippy Koregaon Park area, brightly festooned with maroon-and-technicolour sanyasins. These sanyasins in fact, constitute around seventy five percent of her business of buying and selling second-hand books in English, German and Japanese. When they arrive form all the world, they drop in to check out what's new, and before they depart they sell her all excess book luggage and perhaps buy one for the road to Goa. This unusual clientele contributes to her eclectic 1500 strong collection which includes many spiritual books, novels, and therapy guides
Her prices are generally around half the cover price and if you're a student (or young enough to pretend one) then sometimes she further discount her pencil marked prices. If you are an avid reader and absolutely broke, you can even return the books later and claim fifty percent of the prices you paid. Now in its fourth year, Sophia is still a sanyasin secret but slowly it is being discovered by book lovers looking for new books at good prices.

<CHAPTER & VERSE
' A unique Bookshop ' proclaims the signboard of the plush bookstore at Gera Plaza on the Boat Club Road.
Chapter & Verses constitute Arvind Gordhandas's private collection of books and a smattering of new books on certain subjects. "I don't keeps books on computers, engineering or technical subjects," he explains "because I don't know the ABC of these subjects. Each of these books is a book I have personally loved. On subjects like literature, poetry, music, philosophy and travel you would be hard pressed to find such an exhaustive collection in any book shop even in Mumbai. Being a book lover himself, he has an extensive knowledge on many subjects and even if you don't end up buying, you can spend a pleasant afternoon intelligently discussing life, literature or travel, sitting on the cane sofa in his carpeted, air condition bookshop.
Started in mid- 1995, today Chapter & Verse boasts a collection of around 6000 unusual books approximately half of which are new books. Amongst his timeless collection are old issues of magazines like The New York Times, Esquire, Times Literary Supplement and art magazines.
Like his books, Gordhandas too, is a charming gentleman of a bygone era and he scorns at bookshops, which have recently diversified to sell music, cards, toys, and computer software. Like a pure vegetarian restaurant, Chapter & Verse is a pure bookshop.

TANNA BOOK DEPOT & LIBRARY
Stall No.3, Hong Kong Lane, Near Deccan Talkies
Trust me on this one: you'll pass the Tanna book Depot & Library twice before you believe you've located it. It's so tiny that two people standing shoulder to shoulder will constitute a traffic jam and six people at one time means a 'house full'. You will find it hard to believe this upright matchbox can contain 10 to 15 thousand novels - one of Pune's largest collections.
"Collection pe log aate hain," says Mahendra Tanna, the 'Eight Standard Pass', Gujrati  owner, who took over the business from his father. Since then, the forty something bachelor has had 'no rest, no nothing '. From morning 10:30 to evening 8:00 except Mondays he attends to customers at the shop. On Mondays he trips to Mumbai to replenish his bookstore from the old stock of Mumbai libraries. What is incredible is that although he speaks no English, he sources novels and authors with computerised efficiency for his customers. On occasions, he has located a rare book even after two years of searching.
His prices ranges from Rs. 15 (comics) to Rs. 150 (Gone With The Wind) and he stocks only fiction. The bookshop also doubles as a lending library charging Rs. 2 per day. As curator of the shop since 1963, he has also seen the reading taste changing over the years. " pehle," he says, " it was James Hadley Chase and Erle Stanley Gardner, but aajkal it is Sidney Sheldon, Jeffery Archer and John Grisham" who do brisk business with his customers.




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