Last Sunday as I exited the Delhi Gate Metro station and entered the world of books otherwise known as Daryaganj Book Market, there were books as far as my eyes could see. As a self-proclaimed book-lover, I cannot explain the excitement. I have heard about the market for years now and never had the chance to actually go and visit it. Unfortunately, the expedition wasn’t as satisfying as I was hoping it to be.
So, I decided to write a list of pros and cons for all the book-lovers out there who are planning to visit this weekly book market of Daryaganj. Do go through it before you make plans for your next weekend.
Pro 1. So many shops and so many books
As I said before, there were books as far as my eyes could see. From all the walking I did, I can tell you that the market is a long stretch, about a kilometer, the internet says. And this stretch is filled with books and books. You will never be bored once you enter the place. It is amazing.
Con 1. The diversity
I wasn’t bored but disheartened on this trip, simply because there was no classification. Now, I understand that at such a bargain it is too much to ask for, but the book-lover inside me, just couldn’t handle Arundhati Roy to be in the same pile with Nicholas Sparks or Stephen King to share the same row as Chetan Bhagat. All the authors are good at what they do, but they just don’t go well together.
Pro 2. The prices are amazing
I got a Stephen King, in a decent condition, for just 20 bucks. It is the cheapest book I have ever purchased and one of the best books I have read. I believe even the shopkeepers aren’t aware what prizes they are in possession of.
Con 2. The shopkeepers are of no help
I have done quite some book shopping in my 20 years of existence but this was the first time that I had to tell a shopkeeper to give me a book by its color. If you ask for a title, they would give you a blank look. Want a particular title? Daryaganj market does have it. But it is entirely up to you to find that title in the pile of books spread across a kilometer long diverse and unclassified library. All the best with that!
Pro 3. There isn’t just fiction, but educational and technical books too
If you need to find a book for your college or some competitive exam, you will find it at a great discount price, right in the Daryaganj market. In fact, the shopkeepers might be unaware of their fiction treasure but some of them would be able to help you with these course books.
Con 3. There are more course books than fiction
This is simply applicable to all the novel-lovers. My sole aim was to get some good novels but it was a little disappointing to find so many course books and competition books than novels. What’s worse? At some shops, they are all mixed. You will a GATE preparation book with a Jane Austen.
Pro 4. You can search in peace if you are an early bird
The market opens around 9. Be the first one to reach there and you will find some good titles without having to fight through crowds or getting into bargaining battles. Also, the weather is quite pleasant in the morning and the shopkeepers aren’t as hassled as they are while with hordes of people.
Con 4. Reputation precedes Delhi’s summer
Delhi has a reputation for its dirty summer. You wouldn’t want to roam around in the scorching afternoon heat of June or July in Daryanganj market. Add to it a huge crowd, and trust me you would be finding a way to get out.
Here is the list of books that I was able to grab in the couple of hours I spent in the market.
- Dolores Claiborne – Stephen King
- Vixen 03 – Clive Cussler
- Polar Shift – Clive Cussler
- The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
- A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
- Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
- Betrayal – Martina Cole
- Tennison – Lynda La Plante
Please be aware that the pros in the list might be disadvantages for some, and the cons might be advantages for others. I do, however, believe that you should at least once visit Daryaganj and experience the crowd and all the books. And do take someone along to watch your back while you search through long piles of titles.
Book this weekend for book-shopping and Have a very happy book hunting!