While Landmark has been expanding its presence by opening bigger stores (like the one in Chennai Citi Centre), other bookstores having been taking the medium store route to establish / expand their presence in Chennai. During my recent visit to Chennai, I squeezed in some time to visit two newly launched bookstores. The first one is the Oxford Bookstore in Haddows Road. The second one is Crossword in Venkatnarayana Road (next to T Nagar Social Club). Both bookstores could have aspired to be different if they had taken the niche route considering the space limitation. Since they try to be everything for everyone kind of store, they will lose out to biggies like Landmark, which is the undisputed king (am not counting Higginbothams here) when it comes to the space and the sheer range.
Oxford Bookstore’s split-level concept and the seating area will definitely find favour with book lovers. Oxford could have done away with the Tamil collection and the magazine section and used the precious space for some other purpose. I doubt whether the busy Haddows road with the overflowing traffic will prove to be good location for Oxford Bookstore. The complex in which Oxford is located has other commercial offices and hence there is not much parking space for visitors.This could prove to be a drawback for Oxford.
Crossword’s T Nagar store is the latest bookstore to grace Chennai. As with other Crossword stores, this outlet also features sections like Sriram Recommends. As Lavanya rightly points out, Crossword’s location and the extensive Business & Technology Section could just tilt the balance in their favour.
Inspite of the arrival of these new bookshops, I still feel that Landmark’s outlets at Apex Plaza, Spencer Plaza and Chennai Citi Centre provide good shopping experience and a much bigger range of books. Oxford and Crossword might need to innovate further to woo the avid booklover from regular hangouts like Landmark.