January 13, 2010

The oldest existing bookstore of India - Higginbotham's, Chennai, India

Higginbotham’s is the oldest bookstore and book publisher in existence in India. The main store of Higginbotham’s is located in Mount Road (Anna Salai) in Chennai city in South India. If you are a bookworm/book lover based out of Chennai, you would have certainly visited this store. This book store is so popular that no book lover visiting Chennai city can miss. Even though this book store has many other branches in the other parts of the city and some other South Indian cities, the main building at Anna Salai located opposite to LIC building is considered as the landmark.

In 1840s when India was under the British rule, an English man named Abel Joshua Higginbotham was appointed as a librarian of a bookstore named Weslyan Book Shop run by the Protestant missionaries. The book store did not run successfully and to avoid further loss, the missionaries wanted to sell off the book store for a cheap price. Higginbotham, who was working as a librarian in the book store, bought the book store and named it as Higginbotham’s. The bookstore became very popular very soon and in 1850s and 1860s people started considering Higginbotham’s as one of the prominent bookstores of South India. The business spread to various other locations of the city and various other South Indian cities over the years.

The building where this book store is located is a fine example of British architecture. It remains as one of the favorite places in Chennai for book lovers and it will definitely remain as the one forever.

Happy reading….happy travelling.

View Larger Map


  1. Once again you have given such an information which is outstanding one.The book store established in 1850 and still going on, is definitely ray of hope for the book lovers in and around India. I would have also loved more to view this book store from inside . Thanks.
    Mangesh Nabar

  2. Wow! I never knew this history behind my all-time favorite Higginbotham's. Tks for blogging about this.