Like Deshan says, if books are going out, they might as well go out like dinosaurs. There’s a lovely bookshop in Mount Lavinia that sells pop-up kids books for less than Rs. 2000. These exemplify the art. The place is called Serendib Books. It’s not on FourSquare so I geotagged it on Twitter. Where are some other places to get books in Colombo.
There is, of course, Barefoot and ODEL, but these are a few places a bit more off the grid.
If you have a tolerance for dust, these age old book stalls at the end of Darley Road are the place to go. You have to dig, but I’ve found gems like a North Korean Juche guide to art and an entire collection of F. Scott Fitzgeralds. They also have ancient issues of Wallpaper and Lanka Women if you’re into that sort of thing. Their kids selection is hit or miss, but there are some absolute gems, like a huge, almost painted edition of Babar. It’s a used bookshop so you can give and get.
I’ve written about here previously.
Sarasavi is a mainstream bookshop, but their Nugegoda branch has some weird gems. There’s a quite comprehensive Sri Lankan section up top which includes a pre-colonial Kandyan cookbook. The recipes seem to involve a retinue of staff and days of preparation. Dip the fish in lye, cover in this, layer in that, fold under, clean, filet, marinate, escalate, etc. None of the dishes seemed makeable, but interestingly authentic. They also have a bunch of kids comics illustrating the lives of Da Vinci and Alexander The Great, among others.
For kids birthdays, I’m usually the party pooper that gives books, and they have a big puzzle book here that’s a good gift for almost anyone. There fiction section is a bit whack however, but they do seem to have a lot of educational books.
Read And Seed
This is literally a room in someone’s house, 119/6 Kynsey Road. They have a small selection of curated books, but it’s not much more than you’d see in another Kysney Road house. These books are just for sale. Some interesting biographies and stuff, but not a very wide selection.
I haven’t been here in ages, but they used to have these red-bound ornamental books, you know, the ones you see behind people in photographs? Intentionally or not, some of these have really good content. I found an exhaustive history of the penis, among other things.
And… that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. For new books and stuff, Amazon does deliver here, instantly if you have a Kindle.