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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The last catalogue?

It is rare that the release of a catalogue of a book shop can be a reason for celebration. But, Other India Bookstore is not your ordinary book store. It is probably the best alternate book store in the country today. From alternate Education to Philosophy, Earthworms to Gandhi, every form of useful idea that has not caught the eye of the mainstream publisher, are published by the Other India Books, the publishing wing of the Other India Bookstore. The Bookstore itself, in Mapusa, Goa is a delight for activists and alternate thinkers alike. A small book shop tucked away in the corner of a shopping complex with a friendly attendant who leaves you to do your browsing at leisure and the most remarkable collection of books on topics that would interest every  book reader of serious kind. It is an experience worth trekking to Mapusa just for the pleasure of it. 

I have had the pleasure of interacting with team and am all excited just to hold and go through the list of books on the Catalogue. The Catalogue itself is written in the characteristic style of Claude Alvares, with generous dose of humour and much wisdom. It must be the only book shop catalogue that people may be willing to pay to read. It is produced in the format of a tabloid to complete the look of a newspaper. 

The current issue has for the first time a group photo of the OIB team and the story of the Bookstore too. For us at Samanvaya it is an important milestone too as three of our publications have been stocked up at the Other India Bookstore and we have made our entry into the Catalogue through them. 

However, like all valuable work in recent times, the Catalogue too comes with a label of 'market for extinction soon' on it. The authors have mentioned that with the growth of the Internet, the current issue of the Catalogue may be the last one. The authors also add that if there are a hundred people protesting against the Catalogue being discontinued, then they may relent and continue with it. Here is one. May this bookstore nor the catalogue ever go extinct. 

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