|Easwaran Koil Street
in the Fort Area, which is just off Big Bazaar Street,
is connected with the legend of Tipu Sultan. It is said that
when he made a stopover at Coimbatore this was where his horses were
watered and rested ... so the legend goes.
But there is something else that is interesting on this street. If
you are a bookworm, here's the place to indulge yourself. Scores
of books adorn the shelves of a series of makeshift shops. What started
with just a few second-hand books, is today the source of books for
many students and working professionals.
“We have very old books here which may not be available in a new
book stall. We have been here for around 15 years now. Before that
our brothers and fathers were taking care of the business. We buy
second hand books from students, houses and institutions at about
40% of the value. We have magazines in Tamil, weeklies, Cinema magazines,
which we buy from the waste paper shop. New books are also available
at a discount of 10%”, says Idayatullah who surprisingly
turns out to be a graduate, having done his B.Com in Bharathiar
have the pleasure of browsing the old way, here in Fort Area amidst
story books in English or Tamil, comics, novels, text books on all
subjects – maths, engineering, agriculture, literature, astrology,
palmistry, medicine; even books on ancient medicine like siddha, ayurveda
The list of celebrity visitors who have shopped with them is quite
impressive. Prominent visitors and customers to these shops include
Collector Kalaivanar, authors like Udayamurthy, M S Rajesh
Kumar, R Parthasarathy, P T Swamy, cricket commentator Ramaswamy,
Freedom fighter P Subramaniam who is said to have participated
in the Dandi March and Archaeologist Thol Porul Ramaswamy.
The main season for business is the ‘school season’, which is May
to August. The moment that ends, the college rush starts with books
on engineering, medicine, literature, history and other subjects being
main customers are the school and college students. Customers also
come here for rare collections like old history books, allopathic,
homeopathic books and so on. The shops are open from 9.00 am to 9.00
pm. Rains are a deterrent factor. The monthly income is just enough
to maintain our families”, added Idayatullah.
Pulp fiction from authors Arthur Hailey, Michael Crichton, John
Grisham and Agatha Christie can also be found here. The
lean season for subject textbooks of schools and colleges is after
the exams, during the holidays. But during this time the demand for
storybooks and fiction rises.
Approach: Street opposite the Poompuhar showroom.
Author: Joseph Pradeep Raj
Photographs: Leslee Lazar