The Blossoms bookstore, haunt of lighting enthusiasts, celebrates its 20th anniversary

Blossom Book House aka Blossoms has completed its 20th year. With two shops on Church Street, it’s a favorite spot for bibliophiles in the city.

Started in 2002 by Mayi Gowda, an electrical and electronics engineering graduate, as a small 200 square foot store in Brigade Gardens, Church Street (where Indian Coffee House now stands), it moved to the current store opposite Amoeba, in the same street. , in 2004.

“In our first store, we barely had room for people to stand and browse, which prompted us to look for a bigger store. We started on the first floor and expanded to other floors. because of the reception,” he recalls.

Mayi Gowda, from Rangasamudra, a village near Mysuru, used to sell books on the sidewalk of MG Road when he was a student.

“Until my third semester of engineering, I worked in a factory, going to college in the morning. I slowly started selling books, after seeing booksellers on the sidewalks of the Majestic. I dropped out of my course, but took it back soon after,” he says.

Mayi Gowda completed her course with flying colors and got a job while on campus. “But the magic of books took over and I wanted to continue in the field of books,” he says.

Mayi Gowda, owner of Blossoms Bookstore

There were few second-hand bookstores then. “The only one at the time was Select Bookshop. The My Brigade Gardens store had about 1,500 books, sourced from Avenue Road. Gradually, I started collecting books from Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai,” he says.

Today he has two shops on Church Street and sells between 32,000 and 40,000 books a month. Together, the stores house around six lakh pounds. “Now we get books from multiple places and publishers like Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Rupa,” he says.

The store also sells new titles. “In my first store, people were asking for new titles after buying used titles. About 70% of our books are old in the first store and 50% in the new,” he says. a discount of at least 40 to 50% on the printed price.

Many well-known writers frequent the bookstore. “Some of our regulars include Anita Nair, Vivek Shanbhag and Vasudhendra, Ramachandra Guha and Raghu Karnad,” explains Mayi Gowda.

Realization

Blossoms opened a second store in 2016, due to weekend rush.

HRBR Layout resident Mayi Gowda says, “No one knows me, but everyone knows Blossoms. There are many who come from afar, because of the brand name. We expanded with a new store on the same street because we wanted people to enjoy strolling and strolling. Having two stores of the same brand on the same street is rare,” he says. The new store, near the intersection of Brigade Road and Church Street, is three times the size of the old one. “We allow our customers to move freely and read,” he says.

pandemic rush

While most businesses have seen sales decline during the pandemic, Blossoms has seen a 20-30% increase in 2021, according to Mayi Gowda.

“The first few months were really bad. After that, in the second wave, everyone started picking up more books. To my surprise, the sales numbers went up,” he says.

“Things won’t change”

Mayi Gowda says Blossoms will continue to buy used books. “We’ll always have a huge pile of old books too,” he says.

For him, Bangalore is a city that loves books. “It could be the cosmopolitan nature or the IT City tag, but we have a huge crowd of readers. Previously it was mainly people aged between 40 and 70 coming in, but now we see a lot of young people as well” , he said.

Bookstore Facts

Why the name? : “I started from the sidewalk and went from my first store in 2002 to a big one in 2016. My business ‘blossomed,'” says owner Mayi Gowda.

Most sold: Classics like “The Catcher in the Rye”, “Animal Farm”, “1984” and young adult books like “Harry Potter”.

First book sold: How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

The cheapest on the stands: National Geographic magazines for Rs 15.

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