It’s final this time: Premier bookstore to close

Book lovers’ Premier loss in today’s Deccan Herald is the news item that will make every fan of Premier bookstore really sad. I had blogged about Premier’s closing down in 2006 but luckily that didn’t happen. It seems, however, that this time the bookstore will really close down.

Premier was supposed to have been closed in 2006. But its proprietor T S Shanbagh says that the lease had expired earlier and it was extended for a few months based on oral agreement. “We kept pushing it ahead every 3-4 months, but now even the owner of the building wants us to move out and so I thought I will close this shop,” he said.

Citing problems Shanbagh said he was not interested in extending the lease. Construction work adjacent to the bookstore has led to water seepage into the store. Even if it is fixed, Shanbagh says that there is no way anyone can do business with the exorbitant rents that the owners ask for.

If you are a fan of the store, according to the article, you have a few days for one final visit.

Shanbagh intends to clear most of the books within the next 10 days and close the chapter on 37 years of history.

He admits, “I know its upsetting to close the place down and many of my customers are upset as well.” But then he shrugs and says “But what can I do. I do not have a choice.”

It’s going to be strange walking past the Church Street and Museum Road intersection and not seeing Premier there. There isn’t another bookstore like it in Bangalore and even if there are bookstores you could go to, the cramped space, the quirky arrangement of books, the almost encyclopedic knowledge of its owner — you won’t find all this anywhere else. It really is an iconic place in Bangalore and I will miss it.

I am glad though that I had a chance to enjoy this bookstore for seven years or so and for that Mr. Shanbagh deserves my thanks. I hope to tell him that in person when I go there, probably for the final time.

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4 thoughts on “It’s final this time: Premier bookstore to close

  1. Wish I can come over soon to Bangalore and visit the place. I am thinking of all those stacks of books to be seen and selected. Feeling sorry about the closure.

  2. Hi Percy,

    Feel pretty bad about Premier closing…growing up in B’lore, Premier off MG’s was a given….Shanbagh is the bald guy, right? You’re right, you name a book, and he would know exactly where in the chaos it would be located :)
    somehow it always had a true “bookstorey” feel to it…unlike the polished commercial-ness of modern day bookstores in Bangalore….
    thanks for the post!

  3. Jayalakshmi and Greeshma: I think every Premier lover is sad about the closure but from what I noticed when I visited, I think Mr. Shanbagh is at peace with his decision.

    Greeshma: Yeah, Mr. Shanbagh is the bald man with a book database in his head. Yeah, Premier had a real bookstore feel to it; the other place that feels reasonably “bookstorey” is the second-hand bookstore, Blossom.

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