Indian ink - Issue 6 - Magazine | Monocle

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“When I started the store I read every available ‘How to...’ book on bookselling. They were fraught with warnings for people like me, such as: ‘Do not fill up the bookshop with books you like,’” says Ajit Singh. A qualified engineer, he opened Fact & Fiction in New Delhi more than 20 years ago. Like any entrepreneur worth his bucks, Singh ignored this hackneyed advice and set about filling every inch of his tiny bookshop with books that he loved.

Fact & Fiction stocks a well-edited mix of English language books, covering genres from current affairs through to philosophy, science fiction and world history. Singh prides himself on stocking a tome for every taste. “I source the books mostly from US, UK and Indian publishers,” he says. “Each time I order a book, I try and visualise a buyer picking it up and saying, ‘That’s exactly what I’m searching for!’”

The shop is located in the fashionable residential district of Basant Lok, opposite the popular Priya cinema. Singh has three staff helping him out on the shop floor but says there is no hard sell. “We are there only to assist. The books sell on their own merit.”
39 Basant Lok Market, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057; + 91 11 2614 6843

Fact & Fiction’s top five bestsellers

01 After Dark
Haruki Murakami (Harvill Secker UK) 02 A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury UK) 03 India After Gandhi
Ramachandra Guha (Picador India) 04 The Trouble With Physics
Lee Smolin (Penguin UK) 05 The Black Swan
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Random House US and Penguin UK)

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