These days I devour books. I admit I can get fully absorbed in a book (or e-reader) and have developed a natural ability to speed read.
One of my main concerns when moving out here to Sri Lanka was how I was going to get my book fix. In London, I was so used to strolling into new and second-hand bookshops, as well as charity shops that stocked books.
In my travels, it'd be more of the same... you know how people travel and they collect souvenirs like shot glasses, fridge magnets, charms, lighters etc? Well, in my case I can safely say, I've traveled the world and collected bookshops and books!
That said, there are a few places I frequent. One is Barefoot's bookshop in Kollupitiya. They tend to stock some great literary reads and have a decent enough stock of books. While I'm there I might take my time checking out the books, make my selections to purchase, have a drink in the courtyard and maybe take a squizz at the gallery. I also wander through Vijitha Yapa's store located in Crescat, Kollupitiya or the one in Unity Plaza, Bambalapitiya. The former usually has something for me every now and again, whilst the latter is sometimes hit-and-miss for my tastes. Occasionally, I might also happen to pick up something mainstream from Odel's main store in Colombo 7. They tend to source popular novels in paperback.
Outside of Colombo I am not so familiar with what's available by way of books and bookshops, other than the main book chains in Sri Lanka.
I also buy books directly from India. The prices are attractive and from my travels in India I've made friends with some very good bookshop owners who do international sales. Plus, there is also the usual suspects like Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords etc. for e-book purchasing. As much as I'm enjoying the "lightness" of carrying my books in an e-reader and being more eco-conscious, I have to admit that I'm still a lover of the printed book.
Apart from general book browsing and shopping, there is the annual Colombo International Book Fair (14-22 September 2013 at BMICH) and the Kandy Book Fair (4-7 July at Kandy City Centre) organized by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association. I usually attend if I'm in town and have a stroll through the book stands to see if anything grabs my fancy.
I've previously blogged about my enjoyment attending the Galle Literary Festival. You can read that blog entry here. This annual "lit fest" brings together authors and readers for a four-day literary lovers heaven. It is usually held at the start of the year, but dates vary year-to-year. There's plenty of opportunity to purchase paperback books and get them autographed by the authors while you're there.
Back in 2011 a floating book fair on the MV Logos Hope docked at Colombo Port for about two weeks and offered a range of over 7,000 titles for sale. I think it then sailed down to Galle and Hanbantota, and travelled on to neighboring India, Hong Kong, Phillipines and other countries. It was quiet a novelty to board the ship; even better to have access to such a large range of books; and the ship's crew and staff were all non-salaried volunteers too!
Well, in the meantime... I might enjoy a bit of reading this afternoon (seeing as I don't have to work today!).
Update #1 - I've added some other bookshop recommendations / suggestions in the comments made by Google+ and Twitter friends...