Lahore, a city renowned for its literary history, had been for years, threatened by the technological replacements for reading like E-books ,Online Journals and Discussion Forums. Many bookshops faced extinction while others, in an attempt to retain their customers, substituted magazines for more substantial tomes. Parents had been lamenting that their children had been lost in the world of electronic entertainment and had become, what my own mother likes to call, “Disco Kids.” READINGS, a bookshop that opened in Lahore around three years back, offered a unique solution to all these problems.
On The Inside
READINGS book store boasts of a spacious interior that is stocked with rows after rows of books, magazines, journals, and other literary material from the U.S, U.K and various other countries. As soon as you cross the threshold, you are transported into a completely different world where it’s just you and your books. In the front, New Arrivals are displayed in revolving wooden cases. So chances are that you won`t have to search far and wide for the latest book by your desired author. Finding one`s desired book immediately does not however make you go straight to the counter, rather, the white aisles filled from top to bottom with countless reading material make you want to explore further. The books are arranged according to the genre and each section has a BIG & BOLD title that makes it hard for you to miss it. Another plus point, which might seem trivial to some, but is of grave importance to impatient browsers like me, is the fact that when a certain section says Mathematics, it means ONLY books pertaining to Mathematics which is not the case in other bookshops where books are scattered and you are bound to find Medicine books lying in the Cooking section.
Scattered floor cushions and stools give a feeling of casual comfort which makes browsing and reading a fun experience. Add to that, a small cart provided by the bookshop, which you can easily pull around the carpeted interior and you are ready to stock up!! The cart is a hit with all customers especially children, who can be seen going around the whole shop, adding books to the cart as they go along.
Variety is something that Readings has in abundance. Fiction, Biographies, GMAT Study Guides, Self Help Books; you name it, and they have it and what they don`t have, they`ll get it for you in no time. The most attractive aspect of READINGS is the highly affordable prices of the books. You can find a book priced as low as Rs.10 and that too in an excellent condition. Periodic Sales at READINGS also result in price reductions of otherwise expensive books. So if you`re quick enough and smart enough, you just might end up with a treasure worth keeping. The price of most imported books is generally at least ten or twenty times of the items sold at READINGS, putting them beyond the reach of many and forcing almost everyone to think twice before buying. The fact that READINGS stocks both Used and New books also works for it since it provides more options for the clients.
The latest innovation by READINGS is the new cafe that opened at the shop, which is a first for Lahore. The idea of eateries inside a bookshop had never been tried out before and in my opinion, is nothing short of genius. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy your favorite book with a steaming cup of coffee and maybe grab a cookie to go along with it.
THE GOOD: “Everything about me invites you in. My voice, my face, even my smell.”That`s what Edward Cullen said to Bella Swan and we all thought, yes, everything about you is simply out of this world. Every time I go to READINGS, I get the exact same feeling because indeed “everything” about READINGS invites you in; the interior, variety of books, the prices. It’s simply impossible to resist.
THE BAD: Even after a long and thorough analysis of different aspects of the bookshop, I have failed to come up with anything regarding READINGS which I may be able to call BAD or even “NOT GOOD.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: So what are you guys waiting for?!!!!
by Mehroz Sajjad