The Story of an Obscure Little Bookstore
— NAVYA SHARMA
Goobe’s Book Republic is a charming alcove of literary treasures located on the ever-bustling Church Street. The proprietor of this indie bookstore, Ravi Menezes, describes his venture as “a small, niche bookstore where people can just walk in, buy, borrow or just talk books. The well-read staff is more than capable of recommending books”.
Menezes chose to open his bookstore on Church Street because of Indian Coffee House, which is nearby, owning the best coffee. In addition to this, he owned a Bed & Breakfast next door where he built up his collection of books. Menezes dismisses this as the past and refuses to talk about it. The books were initially meant for the guests but then the collection grew more than the reading population at the Bed & Breakfast.
When asked about how he copes with the competition he receives from online merchants like Amazon, he says “We don’t stock new bestsellers. We just cannot compete with the discounts they offer. The second-hand books we sell and the repeat customers are the reason we’re surviving. Our selection is not influenced by popular culture.”
The graffiti on the exposed brick wall reads: Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else.
Incidentally, there are two other major bookstores right on Church Street. Menezes laughs and says “they’re fifty times as big, so it’s really not much of a competition”.
Book readings are organized at Goobe’s at least once a month. He tells that it’s not quite as often as he would like, but since Blossom and Bookworm have begun organizing events he can enjoy these readings without actually having to organize them.
Goobe’s stocks a lot of science fiction, literature and non-fiction. “Science fiction is great, it’s forward thinking. Many ideas from the 50s have become reality now. We can imagine alternative futures. Sci-fi tells us that authoritative regimes don’t really work. Great things get destroyed because of intolerance.”
He recommends his all time favorites, Future Crimes by Marc Goodman, The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang and The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin to all thinking individuals.
Menezes is active on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Word press to promote Goobe’s. Their social media presence has grown from minimal to considerable, in the last year. “We regularly update the blog on Word Press and also our Facebook and Instagram page.”
Asif, who works at the bookstore says, “Our identity is different. Our collection is small but significant. To preserve the reading culture and stand out is our objective.”
What drives Menezes is his love for books that he wants to share with other people, thereby making them all less ignorant in the process. His aim for Goobe’s is to be “a place where curious minds can be satisfied”. So those of you with a literary bent of mind, head on over to Goobe’s on Church Street.