Interview: Mayi Godwa, Founder of Blossoms Bookstore, Bangalore

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Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to BUZZ Magazine.

You’re welcome.

We understand that you started Blossoms back in 2001 out of your sheer love for books. What has changed from then till now?

A lot has changed since 2001. We were a very small space back then. Now we have 3,500 sq ft. And we are opening one more store that is 9,000 sq ft.

(Please note that this new space has already opened. This interview had taken place back in September.)

BUZZ Magazine is based in Kolkata but we have a lot of bibliophile friends in Bangalore. They had told us that our visit to Bangalore would be incomplete without a trip to Blossoms. How does it feel to know Blossoms popularity has crossed cities across India?

A lot of people come here from Kolkata, and other cities.  I think it is our collection of books, organized manner – in other parts of India, I don’t think anywhere in India it is like this. That’s one reason. And we keep all books, whatever they might want; they are getting it right here. That’s the other reason.

Thanks to social media everyone who buys books from Blossoms posts about it. Has the rise of social media sharing helped in raising both the popularity and sales of Blossoms?

It helps a lot. But I don’t see all these things but lots of people tell me about it. There’s one more blog: Overheard at Blossoms.

Oh, yeah. The Tumblr blog.

Yes, that one.

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Back in an interview in 2009 you said you haven’t thought of expanding to other cities. What are your thoughts on this matter currently?

No, I don’t think I’ll open stores in other cities. Because this is home!

 Blossoms Bookstore has an amazing collection of books. For people like me, it’s nothing short of heaven. However, since I’m working in a publishing house – I know how tedious inventory can get. How do you manage that?

Inventory, actually for some people it’s easy. But the amount of books we get it’s difficult.

So, you’re still the one who heads the inventory?

Yes.

But that means you’ve no free time!

Yes. From morning to evening, I am here.

What do you think of selling books online? Has that business expanded with time or has it fallen short?

Coming to a bookstore is a different experience. We can sell online too. But people will only get the feeling when they come here. You won’t get that shopping books online.

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If any authors/publishers wished to make their work available at Blossoms – what would they have to do?

You could talk to us directly and we will arrange to keep your books.

Was there any one book in particular that inspired you to start Blossoms?

Nothing like that – actually before opening a bookstore, I used to sell books in the train. And that time I used to think I should do something. 

What kind of books do you like to read?

Thrillers. I don’t like non-fiction that much.

Does non-fiction sell a lot?

Yes. Since the last four to five months, it has picked up.

Have you noticed any patterns in the buyers who come in over the years?

Youngsters are reading more now. Parents are encouraging their children to read, that is a good thing.

Do children come in nowadays though?

Right now, it’s exam time because it’s September. But a lot of children do come in at other times.

What’s the highest selling book and author right now?

The highest selling book of all times has been Catch-22 and Catcher in the Rye. Right now, Elena Ferrante stories. I got many queries and I informed the publisher. Even they had no idea and so they imported the books. It’s a high priced book. Rs. 999, but it is always in demand.

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Is there a memorable moment during all your years as the owner of Blossoms?

Yes, One time, there was a seven-year-old girl who had come in with her mother. It was her birthday and her mother had asked her where she wanted to go. She would have her daughter there. The daughter replied Blossoms. When the mother had come and told me this story, I had tears in my eyes.

Is there one thing you have to do that no one expects a bookstore owner to do?

Personally talk to the customers, I think. I remember most of my customers’ faces. Some of them have been coming here since 2001.

What’s your daily life like?

Morning 7 o’clock I come here and I stay till 9 o’clock, that’s it. Attending customers and looking after the store.

Finally, do you have a message for anyone who longs to visit Blossoms – but cannot for some reason?

Mail us and we will send your book orders to you. Because we do sell titles online!

And for those who helped get BUZZ Magazine down to your city?

Thank you for supporting Blossoms Bookstore so much.

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