N Cynthia, III Year B.A. English.
In today’s modern world ruled by online shopping, eBooks and Kindles, the thirst for the feel of skin on paper, the smell of print on paper, the sensation of curling one’s fingers over the spine of a book- all these incomparable feelings seem to have been washed down the drain.
However, the oldest bookstore in Chennai, Higginbotham’s, shows that modernisation can never win over tradition completely, at least not in the ways that matter. Though Higginbotham’s shows clear signs of its age, it is still sought after for the variety and quality it offers.
The store boasts of an impressive collection of books in several departments – Travel, Astrology, Indian Literature, Fiction, Religion, Spirituality, Yoga and Cooking. In addition to the lucrative pile of books that every bibliophile dreams of having, Higginbotham’s also offers a 60% discount sale for which an entire section has been allotted. Narendraraj, who is in charge of this section says, “The discount sale would probably get over only at the end of the year.”
Aravind N, a student in Kaligi Ranganathan Montford School, says, “I am a die-hard bookworm and I came to Higginbotham’s to buy books at a cheap price. A 60% discount offer! I simply cannot miss out on this opportunity.”
Narendran says that online shopping has impacted heavily on the sales in Higginbotham’s. “They deliver the goods at the customers’ doorsteps and lure them with discount offers. The number of people that shop for books in the flesh has reduced painfully but Higginbotham’s is still the bookstore everyone points to in Chennai.”
Narendran asserts that Higginbotham’s has no intention of succumbing to the hype regarding online shopping. “We have no interest in online business as of now,” he says.
He adds that the bookstore draws people of all ages and classes- “the rich, the poor, students, young and old alike.” Students also frequent Higginbotham’s as there are several books on Anatomy, Bio-Chemistry, Pathology, Electrical Engineering, Statistics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology.
[Title Photo Source: Internet]