Random Thoughts on World Book Day

September 8, 2023by Team EKC0

On this World Book Day, I thought of penning down a few thoughts about books, reading and a bookstore called Eureka!

Just like any other ‘Day’ or ‘Occasion’ World Book Day too will see a host of posters, digital creatives and memes and all those numerous tools available these days to express oneself. Frankly, as a brick-and-mortar children’s bookstore that places great store by the feel and experience of holding a book in your hands, we have hardly been able to find that one clever thing that expresses what we want to say. Perhaps that is why you see so little of those on the Bookaroo or Eureka pages on social media.

When we began this venture with just about Rs 70,000 in our combined pockets way back in 2003, we thought it would be a journey of discovering children’s books. Literally! There was so much happening in the book world and our job was to bring that straight to the children and parents. So came the bookshop idea. Incidentally Eureka! was named thus because of the ‘discoverability’ factor. There was a host of names that we had contemplated before settling upon Eureka!

However, one of the things that seems to have changed from those early days are ‘lists’. Circulating lists, sometimes exclusive ones, at other times recommended lists. Though there is nothing wrong in sharing experiences and picking up leads, it cannot replace the act of visiting a bookstore to discover new books for oneself. It is a really exciting exercise when you enter a store, talk to the staff, or just hang out and chat with fellow customers and find that there are so many options to look through before buying.  There is a different charm in ‘discovering’ that book which you think fits your child’s needs. This can be done the best by you and your child – it cannot get more personal than that. Yes, I say the child because it is very important for the child to participate. After all they are party to it at the end of the day.

However, with Covid throwing everything out of gear getting to a bookstore is easier said than done. That visit, it seems, could take forever. Even so, do not give up on the expedition to discover. Remember there is no end to growing up and no end to rediscovering your childhood with your child.

This brings me back to how Eureka bookstore started off. Why did we want to start a bookstore? Two people with zero business experience. No fixed property to start a retail outfit in. No deep pockets to invest in a new business. No big business to support a small side-business. So why?

Simply put, we discovered that this was what we wanted to do. Take some of our own childhood memories of books, add a dash of the new ones that we were seeing sprouting around us and create a space that is fun and accessible for all.

So, in those early days you would have found CBT’s Ashok’s Kite rubbing shoulders with Karadi Tales’ The Monkey and the Crocodile complete with audio CD. Yes, those were the days. Feluda and Poirot shared shelf space while lovers of Bertie and Tenida both found something for themselves at the store.

Again, this is not about lists or what constitutes ‘good’ reading. World Book Day just felt like a good time to reminisce about those early days of starting a bookstore. Blogging is not something that comes naturally to us but there is so much to share. This just might be the beginning and maybe, someday, we will have the wherewithal to have a team of bloggers and vloggers who will write for us too. Someday.


Team EKC