It’s one thing when an ‘old bookshop’ becomes old news. What really stings is when it’s replaced with a spanking new boutique.
A book was, after all, judged by its cover.
Peshawar’s largest old book shop, a one-of-a-kind retreat for book lovers in the city, gave way to a boutique a few days ago to match up with the rising fashion retail trend.
Fortunately, the bookshop, known as the ‘Old Book Shop’, has not entirely vanished and has moved, instead, to a smaller location with a smaller a quantity of its once huge collection of old books.
The bookshop had previously occupied a prominent space in a plaza on the main University Road, near Arbab Road, Peshawar.
Over the years, the University Road has grown into a high-end shopping area with new plazas, dealing in computer and fashion items, springing up like mushrooms.
‘We still have demand’
For years, Old Book Shop remained an attraction for book lovers with its huge collection of second-hand books.
Zahid Khattak, an employee at the book shop told The Express Tribune that he had been working there for the past decade.
However, he was not sure of how long the bookshop has existed, but said that perhaps it was the oldest old bookshop in Peshawar.
The owner, whose family has been long associated with the business of old books in Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar, decided to try his lucks in the fashion business, Khattak said.
He remained cautious when asked about the leap of faith from books to boutique, saying that the owner could better explain the transition.
The bookshop owner, however, was unavailable for comment.
“There is still quite a good amount of demand for old books and many customers visited the shop,” Khattak said.
He further said that they have reduced general books from their stock and most of the books displayed in the shelves of the new shop were college text books.
However, he added, more books will placed on the shelves over the coming days.
Last February, Peshawar’s largest book store Saeed Book Bank closed down, after over 40 years, due to lack of business and public interest.
Since then, no new bookshop has opened in the city of over 3 million people.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2012.
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