Saturday, 24 July 2010

Retail therapy: CMYK bookstore

Out the front of CMYK bookshop, in inner-central Delhi, there's a long ditch where they're digging up the sewer which runs along several shopfronts. In the Delhi summer heat the overwhelming miasma of sweet refuse takes hold.

To get inside the shop you have to gingerly sidestep the lactating street dog and her suckling pups, make sure you don't fall in the ditch, and navigate around it to a small set of steps.

Inside CMYK and it's a whole other world.

With books displayed on shelves and on tables, it's perfect for a lengthy browsing session. CMYK – named for the four colours used in printing (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) – is a modern, grey-toned, downlit and minimalist space. Unlike most cramped bookshops, this one is spacious and high-ceilinged, calm and quiet.

CMYK is an art and design focused shop, unveiled last September mainly as a vehicle to give the books of its parent publishing company, Roli Books, prominent positioning. (Roli Books books are about 30% of the stock; there's also Taschen, Phaidon and other major international houses).

Every time I go to CMYK I stay for around an hour, browsing through the collection of books like I Know How To Cook and Raghu Rai photography tomes. No one stops me, or asks me if I want them to put the book aside, or want it in another colour.

CMYK is ideally positioned in an up-and-coming area: the Mehar Chand Market, very close to Lodi Colony and right behind Delhi's cultural hub, the India Habitat Centre.

Here's a handy map:

Roli Books, which is a small family owned publishing house, has big plans for CMYK: there are plans afoot to take the concept to seven cities. First off will likely be Mumbai, where they are set to open a store-within-a-store at Bungalow 8. Next on the list are Goa, Bangalore, Gurgaon.

But for now, visitors to Delhi should most definitely add it to their must-visit list. I'm sure the sewage works will be done by then.


Anonymous said...

We haven't been yet! We've had it on the list for quite awhile, as they also have some great children's activities!

Thanks for the reminder (although I won't hold my breath that the construction will be completed when we go) ... although maybe I should "hold my breath"

:) Thanks for the review!

g said...

What a nice read! Can't say no to a good book shop, even if it's on a slightly whiffy street:) Glad I fell across your blog via your "bloggie award" on CNNgo.