‘Booked’ for life!
By Smriti Daniel
Deen the Bookman knows his books – they’re stacked around him in neat piles and he makes it a point to know them well enough to be able to match readers to a read they’ll enjoy. Its part-art, part-trade and finding that balance has made him among the more successful second-hand booksellers in the city. “I used to be very interested to read books, but now I have more books that I can read,” he tells us.
Of late, ‘Deen,’ whose name is actually Tuan Halfleen Packeer Dawood, has rented a stall at the Good Market, where to all appearances he does brisk business. Attracting people with a range of titles that cover the spectrum from Jennifer Crusie to A.S. Byatt – with a nod to the likes of Jonathan Franzen, Ruth Rendell, Mario Puzo, William Boyd, Iain Banks, Danielle Steel and Ingo Schulz along the way. If you’ve wanted to learn how to knit for babies, there’s even a book that’s meant for you. If you’re actually there for music and not books, there are a stack of vintage records and Sinhala music CDs which he sells for Rs.50 a disc. So essentially, it’s a lucky dip which is surely part of the pleasure of a visit to Deens. The books sell for between Rs.250 – Rs. 750, though prices can vary depending on the condition the book is in and how popular or rare that particular title is. As a rule of thumb, he says his books go for 1/3 the store price.