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Karachi has been home to a lot of book stores, especially in the past when reading was the preferred hobby, as compared to the modern habits of playing Counter Strike, smoking up shisha and more. Unfortunately, a lot of book stores have closed down, but the relatively newer book stores and the age-old ones still hanging on are striving to inculcate reading habits amongst people.

Here’s a list of the important book stores in Karachi, in no specific order…

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First up, Liberty Books – the place has been around for over 10 years or so, and has branches all over the city. While they have a reasonably decent book collection, their prices are fairly on the higher side, which means that the average bun kabab eating student cannot really afford to buy something from the store. I have a bone to pick with their 100 rupee section as well – the only books you get there are the ones even the local ‘raddi walas’ refuse to sell now.


Second on the list, Oxford University Press – extremely pricey, but some of their books are worth checking out – even if it means that you don’t eat for a month after buying it or evade your credit card company.

Third, we have Tit Bits, located near Bohri Bazar. They’ve been selling books for ages, and once sold me Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, hardbound, for half the price, which is why I am in love with them.

Fourth up is Paramount Book Stores, located at Tariq Road. They recently opened up a branch near Agha’s Supermarket, at what used to be known as Schon Circle, now called Schon Khadda. Their yearly book sales are quite famous, but they hardly offer any great discounts that make my wallet jump for joy, since they convert the UK price to Pakistani rupees and then calculate the discount.

Number five on the list is one of my recent finds, Family Book Shop at Boat Basin, which is right next to Karachi Broast. The book shop has some rare [and trust me on this] finds, and even though you may have to dig through their shelves, you’ll find everything on your list and more. I recently came across the Penguin’s Book of Women Humor, which I have yet to see in any of the elite book stores.

Last, but not the least, Itwaar Bazar! Ever since the US Consulate people forced the Frere Hall book fair to close down, the book shops have shifted to the Defence Itwaar Bazar, which is quite helpful, since one can now buy classic works of Shakespeare and the weekly supply of vegetables in one go.

Tis quite sad, that despite our ever growing population, we only have a few notable book stores to speak of, and even those are suffering from losses, thanks to the diminishing reading habits. Read people, a book may end up saving your soul :)

5 Comments so far

  1. hafsa (unregistered) on July 19th, 2005 @ 4:32 pm

    hmm..and sagar books are trying to catch up too.

  2. abbas halai (unregistered) on July 19th, 2005 @ 8:11 pm

    it’s all about tid bits. too bad pak american isn’t around anymore either.

  3. Anathema (unregistered) on July 19th, 2005 @ 9:53 pm

    Thomas and Thomas: the Karachi version of Foyler Bookstore, Oxford Street, as my father describes it. It (was) on Preedy Street, though I am not sure they are open anymore. They were open till 1999.Apparantly Liberty and Paramount did not have stuff they had. I can vye for that, considering I got half my books from there during A-levels.

    There is also Mr. Old Books: they were the only place i found “Sex and the City”, also on Boat Basin, between Telenor and Tandoori Hut/ Off Beat.

    And The Sunday Version of the book sale is also Koocha-e-Saqafat: a,mong the best exhibitions in KArachi, held on Sundays after 3 p.m on M.R. Kayani Road, opposite Arts Council. Ah that exhibition is a joy to be at.

  4. Anathema (unregistered) on July 19th, 2005 @ 9:54 pm

    And not to forget the ever popular and always handy Urdu Bazaar! all pirates are published there. Sad, if they do something about Intellectual Property Rights on books as well. We wont have music or books to read then!

  5. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 12:16 am

    Personally, I prefer Liberty Books. Whenever I go there with an intention to get something to read, I don’t leave the store dissapointed. They have the best collection, especially the one next to B.B.Que Tonight.

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