Higginbothams is perhaps the oldest bookstore in India. It was started by an English stowaway, Abel Higginbothams in 1844. It was taken over by the Amalgamations Group (Simpson’s) in 1945.
During our growing up years, Higginbothams was the go-to shop for any books. Most railway stations in South India also had a Higginbothams stall (some still exist) where we picked up newspapers, magazines and Perry Mason paperbacks (for about 4 or 5 rupees) during travel.
Despite the onslaught of competition from new generation bookstores, online stores, and ebooks, Higginbothams has survived. What is more, the management has restored the iconic heritage building on Mount Road. Our esteem for the management of Amalgamations Group goes up when we see the historic Bharat Insurance Building (Kardyl building) just opposite to Higginbothams which was to be razed to the ground by the Government-owned LIC to put up a ‘modern’ monstrosity.