A paradise for children’s books!
Storyteller Bookstores are bookshops just for children’s books. The bookstore which started for the love for reading is doing what it should – spreading the love for reading.
A bookstore just for children, with a curated selection of books… meet Mayura Misra of Storyteller Bookstore, who recalls her journey as a bookseller.
Love for books…
“When I was a little girl, my mother Gul was the librarian of Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata. I would come straight from school to pick her and hang around till she wrapped up for the day. I would watch her work very closely and help her put the books back in the rack. She would speak to the members and suggest titles according to their choices. I was overwhelmed being surrounded by books, even though these were mostly bestsellers and no children’s books. At that time I decided that one day I would be able to buy all the books in the library! This influence may have led me to being a bookseller that I am today,”shares Mayura.
Journey as a bookseller…
“I began as a foreign magazine subscription agent but later forayed into bookselling. I called my store STORYTELLER. With no experience, I started with a single table and paid a princely sum of Rs.4000 as rent in the early 90s.In the beginning, I did a bit of institutional supplies but later found my calling and started specializing in children’s books. By then I had shifted to my own property which was a large space. Being first generation in the book trade, I was not taken seriously by the publishing industry. They took my work as a joke waiting for me to shut shop. But I had better plans and carried on with my school book fairs across West Bengal with only one thought in my mind to get the best story books to children…the titles that I could not get as a child,” shares Mayura.
What keeps you going?
“The appreciation from parents and the excitement of a child who hugs a book and jumps up and down and says, “Aunty when did u get this one ?”is what keeps me going. I sometimes feel that if I don’t do this job of curating children’s books in this part of the country, then who will?” she shares.
Impact of pandemic…
“The pandemic has changed the way I look at my profession. It has taught me to collaborate with my community and to protect my brand. Currently I have just opened another store in Ballygunge,” adds Mayura.
“Other than bookselling I run literature festivals and book clubs for adults and children. I have hosted many important and well known authors like Geetanjali Shree, Kabir Bedi, Ruskin Bond, Amartya Sen to name a few,” tells Mayura.
Message to publishers…
“Please support your algorithm free local book store,” concludes Mayura.