Imagine a place where you can browse through an array of books before making up your mind about which one to buy. What if you can also grab a couple of your favourites, sit down and start browsing through them over a cup of coffee -- wouldn't that be nice! Your friends can do the same too!
With the changing trend in book-reading culture, booklovers now tend to look for places where they can go through the books for a while before buying any. They also look for places where they can get together with friends to discuss their literary adventures.
Quite a few bookstores, opened over the last one year in the capital, are not only offering booklovers a wide range of local and international books but also a cozy environment with light refreshments.
Bookstores with cafés such as Dipanpur, Bengal Boi and Batighar, and café with library like Nerdy Bean were introduced to the urban bookworms in 2017.
Sanjoy Basak Partha, a student of Dhaka University, said there should be more such bookshops. “To make people interested in reading books, such bookstores can definitely play a vital role.”
Having a reader-friendly environment is as much important as choosing the right book, he said while buying books from Batighar Dhaka.
Bhatighar Dhaka, designed in the Mughal architectural style especially like the Lalbagh Fort, offers booklovers over 1 lakh books and a corner where they can enjoy reading over a cup of coffee.
Tarek Abdur Rob, its manager, said the main attraction is the bookstore. “In addition, people can spend a good amount of time here reading books.” The availability and a good collection of books create more scope of creating quality readers, he said.
Dipanpur, which also started its journey last year with an aim to fulfill slain Faisal Arefin Dipan's dream of spreading knowledge, offers a corner, “Dipanjali”, where people can read books over a cup of coffee or snacks.
“We want to create a friendly environment for the readers…," said Salma Siddique, one of the directors.
Dipanpur also has a “children corner” where parents can keep their kids busy with toys, colour boxes and books, she added.
Bengal Boi, another newly-launched bookstore, offers a wide range of books and a cozy environment. People can read books there while having breakfast.
The lost habit of reading books is coming back gradually, claimed its Operations Manager Golam Sarwar Farouque.
Tanzila Chowdhury Antara, a student of Dhaka University, said, “Here you can sit as long as you want and read the book you like.”
Anwar Hossain, owner of Boi Bichitra, one of the pioneers of chain bookstores, claimed that people these days tend to visit bookstores with cafés more than the regular ones due to the changing taste of readers.
In addition to these bookstores, there is also a café which for the first time in the country included library facilities for its customers.
Nerdy Bean in Dhanmondi aims to offer its customers an experience as if they are reading books in their living rooms, said the store manager Sheikh Sazid, adding that they have around 1,200 books.
Arani, a student of North South University, was visiting the place with her friends. They were reading and discussing about books while taking coffee.
In addition to reading and buying books, Pathak Samabesh, one of the premier bookstores, has introduced a new service for booklovers.
They would inform the readers about new books depending on readers' preferences via e-mails, said Roksana Akhter, admin of the bookstore.
“It's a good thing that children now can spend time with books in stores, which will help create future readers,” said Safir Abdullah, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
These bookstores can play a vital role in boosting the reading culture, said many of the bookworms.