Finding books has never been much of a problem in Bangladesh; local bookstores have always stocked a healthy collection of classics, along with mainstream contemporary releases. Not to mention, the country’s infamous book-street, Nilkhet, has somehow always managed to keep pace with the literature community in terms of new releases, albeit with questionable ethics, to put it lightly.
Having acknowledged all of that, it’s fair to say that, the problem lay with readers who looked for material beyond the surface: underrated writers, books outside bestseller lists, rare Goodreads finds, an unpopular book from a bestselling author, original hardbacks/vintage covers/special edition paperbacks and the list goes on.
Good news: It’s a non-issue now.
With the country’s e-commerce industry burgeoning, today, bookstores catering to custom orders number by the dozen. Adding to that, brick and mortar stores like The Bookworm, Baatighor and Pathak Samabesh have massively stepped up their game as well!
What follows is a list of bookstores that specialize in acquiring original books from abroad on demand:
1. Boiyer Jahaj
This hugely underrated page makes it to the top of the list by virtue of the people behind it. Run by two friends who just want to see the country read, Boiyer Jahaj charges next to no markup on their orders. Rather than a bookstore, it’s an attempt on the founder’s part, an initiative more of, to get people to read more. The fact that the boys are super nice when it comes to handling requests and queries helps too!
Located in Chittagong, Baatighor is arguably the fanciest bookstore in the country right now, with a deliciously well-rounded collection at their brick store. But in case one can’t find what they’re looking for at the store itself, Baatighor readily offers to get the books on demand, no extra charges. The catch? Delivery time. The books arrive along with their regular consignments, with no room for express orders. So, essentially, it could take a week or even months. For somebody who’s willing to take the gamble, Baatighor is an extremely dependable option. (Bonus: They’ll humor all your needs for specific publishers/ covers/ editions as well!)
3. Go Bookish
Go Bookish gets their hauls from the UK. With a moderately high taka-pound conversion rate, but short delivery period, this page is a good option for those who hate waiting around for their books. The page also sports a good collection of rare hardcover and paperback editions for a number of books, but what stands out by far is how organized the page is, with all posts neatly packed into albums.
4. Paper Tree
Paper Tree leans to the more expensive side of things, although again, they too, compensate (somewhat) with very prompt delivery. The page, however, is a good follow because unlike other pages showcasing their collections of bestsellers and mainstream publications, Paper Tree tends to share some rare non-fictional books. Paper Tree also has frequent 40-50% discount offers going on every few days for select books that can be worth looking into every now and then.
5. Booksphere Bangladesh
The first things that stand out, once you visit the page, are the profile picture and cover photo, suggesting that the page is run by somebody with good taste. With all 18 5 star reviews, the store’s been going strong till date. Despite being priced on the higher end, Booksphere more than makes up with record delivery timing (1-2 weeks at most). The bubble wrapping for every book delivered, instead of the usual plastic covering, has also scored Booksphere some extra points from its buyers.