Pune: While the conventional libraries full of wooden bookshelves packed with titles were the hubs for nerdy bookworms a few years ago, modern-day bibliophiles have altered their idea of a reading place. Along with books, they seek cozy and comfortable seating area with good lighting, food and possibly music. Enter the book cafés!
What began as novelties in the metros a few years ago, has now started becoming the happening place in many cities across the country.
While there were a few such cafés in Pune a couple of years ago, the city has seen a large number of new book cafés springing up across the city in the last few months.
These places offer a variety of books with a place to almost lie down and read with a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea at the side and are catching up fast with young book lovers.
“The culture of reading is getting lost with the advent of gadgets and the Internet. We no longer prefer to rummage through books for information or entertainment. Thus, we no longer like to visit the libraries. We wished to start a place like a library, however add something ‘cool’ to it which would welcome people and encourage reading and that is why we thought of going for a book café,” said Parag Pathare, one of the founders of the Book Establishment Café on Senapati Bapat Road.
Pathare, who is an industrial psychologist, started the café with his friends Kamlesh Sonawane, an industrial psychologist and Mohammad Saif, a sociologist.
While the café has around 800 books across genres, Pathare is planning to expand the collection with classics as well as popular literature. “We have children’s books too, so many children also visit us. However, college students who are our regular visitors as they are too bored to go to a library, but are fascinated by the concept of a book café,” he added.
Tanmayee Joglekar, an IT professional and a book lover who is a regular visitor at Wari Book Café in Kothrud said, “Book cafés are more alluring, as they offer a creative space as well as snacks, coffee, which is more interesting than the usual libraries which compel you to only read your books in dead silence, which is not very welcoming.”
Geetika Anand of Kitabi Chai, a book café off NIBM Road said the idea was to make a hangout place available in the area. “There was not a single place in our area where people could meet up and hang out for a while, without continuously ordering much to eat. At our café, we have visitors who sit with their friends, or alone reading the books of their choice for hours without being interrupted, all they have to do is order one thing. As far as reviving the library and reading culture is concerned, I think we are certainly a step towards it as we are offering the book lovers a place to hang out as well as read, with a cup of coffee or a bowl of fries, in a great ambiance,” Anand said.
Kitabi Chai has more than 2,000 books belonging to the genres of fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, poetry, Hindi collection and children’s literature, with an option of both rental as well as purchase. “While we have had customers from all age-groups, most who visit us are between 20 to 30 years old,” she said.
Sangram Jadhav, a law student who visits the Book Establishment Café said, “I love the food there. And another strong point is the lovely ambiance. With a strategic location, the café has a good view, and you can just relax and read or work sitting there, enjoying your coffee and the view. The colourful decorations, innovative arrangement of books provide much more comfort. It boosts creativity. Here you can meet and interact with new people, have good discussions, which is again not allowed in a library.”