Oxford Bookstore – Haddows Road

Oxford Bookstore opened their first store in Chennai last week. The store is situated in the ground floor of APJ Business center in Haddows Road, Nungambakkam. Chennai Book Shops market is dominated by Landmark and Higginbothams, with Odyssey at a distant third. So the question on my mind when I visited Oxford Bookstore was, how does it compare to Landmark?

The store is small, compared to rows and rows of books that you find in Landmark. The reception area has some coffee table books and best sellers lined up in attractive racks. The real books are in the basement section, with Fiction, Religion, Literature, Teens, Children, Humour, Business as categories. Literature section has all the known names, but most of the authors are represented by only one or two of their works. For example, I could find only one Kafka Book, “America”. Surprisingly they had almost every Murakami book. Hemingway was represented by “Farewell to Arms” and “The Old Man and the Sea”.

In fiction there were the usual suspects, from Sydney Sheldon to Dan Brown. The Indian authors too were present in fairly good numbers. The non fiction category had very little to recommend for. There was no separate Poetry section or Regional Languages section. Tagore’s translated works and a few other poetry books were there in the Literary section.

The store is well lit, and has conveniently placed seats all where you can sit down and relax with a book. The staff don’t bother you, as they do in Higginbothams. I spent almost two hours there yesterday, without a stare from the staff. It is a small place though, not sure what would happen if it attracts large crowds. Or may be they are expecting the crowd to be small.

Their merchandising needs to improve, with all the Booker and Nobel prize news, I expected them to put Kiran Desai and Orhan Pamuk’s books on display. However there was no sign of those two. I was told that they had run out of stock of Kiran Desai’s books, and Pamuk, well, they didn’t have his books.

I ended up buying The Hungry Tide by Amitav Gosh, Dubliners by James Joyce and Falling off the map by Pico Iyer.

I should mention about the Cha Bar at the mezzanine floor. Despite the name, they serve Coffee too, probably to cater to the coffee drinking Chennai vasis. Nice place, with a variety of snacks available. Try their baskte of Fries, a welcome departure from the boring French Fries.

All said and done, Landmark in Nungambakkam is better. Should wait and see whether Oxford gears up their merchandising to that level.

2 Comments so far

  1. Lavanya (unregistered) on October 18th, 2006 @ 11:27 am

    Thanks Chenthil for the details. The pictures on the Oxforsbookstore site did look cosy.

    On a related note, did you ever like Crossword? Earlier (when the store size and collection were bigger in Shopper’s Stop) I used to enjoy the store but in recent times, most books aren’t available there. FYI, Crossword will be around in T Nagar too – active very soon – in the Kuppus Arcade in Venkatnarayana Road (opp Panagal Park and Ramakrishna Mission School)

  2. hehe (unregistered) on October 18th, 2006 @ 10:27 pm


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