A Guide To Mumbai's Bookstores

Photo of Sridevi Nambiar
22 September 2016

We trace Mumbai’s very best offerings for book lovers, including cozy, warmly lit bookstores catering to specific genres, huge sprawling ones with in-house cafes, and century-old, rundown, dusty stores with the most obscure collections.

Kitab Khana

Bookstore, Store, Building
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Kitab Khana
Kitab Khana | © Trace / WikiCommons
Kitab Khana in Fort is one of the biggest bookstores in the city. This overwhelmingly huge bookstore with warm wooden décor is located inside a 150-year-old building oozing old-world charm. Spanning across languages, ranging from the latest bestsellers to rare finds, their collection is likely to please whatever your interests are. The in-store café, Food For Thought, is just as cozy and warm, though a little pricey.


Bookstore, Store
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This stylish bookstore in Juhu aims to create the perfect reading experience for its patrons. From live music, delicious coffee, reader friendly spaces including seating that overlooks Juhu Tara Road, and separate spaces for book readings and launches, this is one of the best spots in the city to find peace in just browsing through books.

Leaping Windows

Cafe, American, $$$
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This comic book library and café has outdoor tables and indoor cushion seating, delightful décor including cartoons on the walls, and a stunning collection of manga, graphic novels, and comics. You can rent graphic novels and comics online and get them delivered to (and picked up from) your doorstep.

The New & Second Hand Book Shop

Bookstore, Shop, Store
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This gem in Kalbadevi was founded in 1905, at which point it only sold raddi paper (waste paper), but in the following decades branched out to selling books as it does today. In the era of chain bookstores and kindle, this old business is struggling to hold onto its spot. But its collection – ranging from unique, old poetry books and obscure textbooks from the past century to cheap, second-hand and new copies of bestsellers – is unique enough for the bookstore to be as relevant to the city today as it was 110 years ago. There’s no reason this store won’t delight you.

Title Waves

Bookstore, Store, School
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This is Mumbai’s first boutique bookstore. Spread over 8000 square feet, Title Waves claims to be the city’s largest bookstore. With touch-screen kiosks helping you locate your book, a listening lounge, and high definition LED panels to screen blu-ray movie trailers, DVDs, and CDs, the store is where you should be headed if you want to look for books in a fancy space, yet do not want to enter a chain store.

Strand Book Stall

Building, Store
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This iconic store has been serving the city’s book lovers for more than half a century. The store was first set up in 1949, further south in the Colaba area, but moved to its current location in Fort in 1953. Having served patrons ranging from former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Vajpaee to business tycoons JRD Tata and Dhirubai Ambani, this store has truly earned its place as a Mumbai landmark.

Wayword & Wise

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This cute bookstore in historic Ballard Estate features a carefully curated list of books spanning across genres – from less known fiction titles to nonfiction on literary criticism, the occult, religion, and more. For some quiet browsing in one of the city’s most delightfully quaint neighborhoods, look no further.

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