LIGHTROOM AND ME
I drool over the fabulous collection that Lightroom often highlights in their insta feed, feel envious of all those cosy nooks I see there as also of the wonderfully active children’s author community that seems to converge in this wonderful space, very often. While I haven’t had the good fortune of visiting the store, I hope to rectify that when travel is easier! In the meantime, delighted to see one of my books, Princess Easy Pleasy in their feature of great read-aloud books! Bangalore as a city has a special place in my heart since it was where I began my working life. Titan Watches at Golden Enclave was my haunt when I lived and worked in the city. My fondest memories of my stint in the corporate sector are those years. If Lightroom existed back then, I’m sure many afternoons would have been spent there!
Tell us a little about Lightroom!
The store is run as part of a community, the neighbourhood and the children’s book community. We’re open to having chai and chats at most times of the day and know most of our regulars’ preferences and tastes.
We welcome everyone, and we especially love people who love books – whether they spend Rs 25 or Rs 2500! We have design students who come and spend half a day here, take photos and discuss books, book design and illustration and that is fine, we have people who come and read several books to their children and buy only one, which is fine too! I think for me what makes it special are the many discussions we’ve had here, all around children’s books – there have been meetings held between authors and illustrators, meetings held by a publishing house, a librarian get together, design students as part of illustration courses, a PhD student who presented her thesis as well as our regular events and sessions for children and we love that all that happens here. Though of course that is all pre-pandemic and we miss it terribly at the moment.
GET TO KNOW LIGHTROOM, BETWEEN THE PAGES!
A bookstore moment that made you want to hug yourself with joy
I love it when children walk in for the first time and say…
A never-do-this-in-a-bookstore piece of advice
Handle a book with love and care. Don’t use spitty fingers to turn pages, hold the books carefully with both hands and don’t bend the book or pages.
Your earliest memory of visiting a bookstore
My first 10 years were in Delhi so The Book Shop in Jor Bagh is my earliest and warmest memory of a bookstore, and we used to wait for the World Book Fair, which was the most exciting outing in the year.
Your favourite section of the store
I love picture books so definitely that.
But over the years I love opening the door in the morning and just taking it all in, it still fills me with immense happiness!
Your favourite regulars (can be animal or human)
Haha, I have 3 regular dogs who come, they are adopted streeties, Bolt, Biskoot and Sally Sundari. They are always welcome and often curl up in some spot for hours. We have many human favourites, people who we got to know through the store and went from being acquaintances to friends. People who have steadfastly refused to buy books online even if the books are not on discount, friends who have volunteered to read stories, and do readings, authors and illustrators who come and hang out often.
The best corners are always full of children and books and children with their nose in a book!
Doing anything different to reach customers during this strange COVID time?
Not really, I am trying to stay offline as long as possible. When we opened in April after 6 weeks of lockdown, parents were thrilled to be able to get books for their locked down children and we also had some of our regulars who I think bought just to help us out! That kept us steady till August. But in the last few weeks, things aren’t terribly easy.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORE!
The lack of availability of good children’s books was what set everything in motion. The thought started in 2006 but by the time I could muster the confidence, courage and finances it was 2013. We started on a shoestring budget with 800 titles and no employees! When we were about to start the store, we were very convinced about the idea of having a physical store for only children’s books but had naysayers who felt it wasn’t the right time. It has been 7 very rewarding years – though we are still fairly small and sometimes that does get a bit exhausting.
No. 1, Lewis Road, Cooke Town, Bangalore 560005
Phone number: 080-25460466
Email id: email@example.com
We’re open for business!
Follow them on Instagram and Facebook @lightroombookstore
What’s the furthest you’ve made a book travel to reach a reader?
We sent a parcel by India Post to someone who had visited the store and selected their books but couldn’t carry them back – it was 24 kilos!
All photographs and responses have been provided by Lightoom Bookstore, Bangalore