The pop-up bookstore is open to the public from 11 am to 8 pm every weekend at Suncity Layout, in Bengaluru’s JP Nagar.

A reader at Bengaluru's pop-up store of Walking Book Fairs in Suncity LayoutFacebook
news Books Saturday, September 11, 2021 - 13:07

A Bengaluru resident has been hosting a unique pop-up bookshop every weekend in the front yard of her house. Upali, a native of Odisha, has been associated with Walking Book Fairs—started by the duo Akshay and Satabdi to promote reading—for a year and has been opening a pop-up bookstore in the city’s JP Nagar area since then. “Prior to the opening of our bookstore in Bengaluru, we used to have pop-up stores on the streets of the city in JP Nagar itself. However, the shutters of the store in Bengaluru were closed when we were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, I started opening the pop-up bookstore on weekends at my residence,” explains Upali.

Walking Book Fairs was started by Akshay Routaray and Satabdi Mishra, who also belong to Odisha. The duo, while travelling across the eastern state, took note of how the locals had limited access to literature. They began to take books along for sale whenever they would travel and thus the name, Upali elaborates.

The duo in 2015-16 toured across small towns, rural areas and cities in India in their book truck with an aim to promote reading amongst people. Their quirky bookstore gained a lot of traction and interest. They also currently operate a bookstore in Bhubaneswar, apart from the one in Bengaluru.

The idea behind Bengaluru’s pop-up bookstore at her residence, Upali says, is that everyone should get access to books. “The pop-up bookshop is all about accessibility. When you see a pop-up store, there are not many mental blocks before approaching.”

Upali adds that the group is fiercely independent and strives to curate a collection of books that not only amplifies diverse voices but also has a regional touch to them. She mentions that the books they put up for sale at the pop-up store come from publications like Zubaan—known for its feminist publications and Speaking Tiger—known for publishing translations of regional authors.

“Bengaluru has a plethora of independent bookstores and there are many books that are commonly available. We wanted to amplify as many diverse voices as we can. In my opinion, it’s important to find voices in our communities, people who share the same experiences as us. We have turned a blind eye to large numbers of the Indian population and it's through reading we can find alternative perspectives and those are the books we want to promote,” she says.

Upali adds that they will also start selling books written in the Kannada language soon, which got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pop-up bookstore is open to the public from Friday 11 am to Sunday 8 pm every weekend in Suncity Layout, Phase 7 of JP Nagar in Bengaluru or you can visit their online store here.   

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