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The last Strand of a bookshop

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Media has reported the closure today, forever, of a city icon, Strand Book Stall. My father has purchased books from Strand Cinema which was very close to our house. Even after they shifted to PM Road, a monthly visit was compulsory. I still have the first book I personally selected for my 14th birthday in 1965; History of the British People In Pictures. Classics like Bronowski’s Ascent of Man and Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation were also purchased there. At one time, the store used to even get your books covered with a protective plastic cover for a small fee. The tragedy of closure represents a truth – no matter how iconic and loved, if someone does not want to run the business, you can do nothing about it.  Further employer-employee relations deteriorated at a rapid pace after the death of Mr. Shanbag in 2009 with matters unfortunately reaching the courts. I do not wish to say more. That online stores have put paid to the fortunes of brick and mortar variety is not true. Online, you have already decided what to purchase, but if you want to know which new books have come, nothing beats a good shop. Good book lovers must ensure that online stores do not wipe out the brick stores, by buying an equal amount from, to keep both alive and serving our interests. The customer must show he is king.

—T.R. Ramaswami, Kandivli

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