Colombo International Book Fair 2014.

Colombo doesn’t have a lot of big events going on so people get really excited about the Book Fair. Bookworms everywhere rush to BMICH there and spend the day browsing for bargains.

This year it’s on from the 10th to the 16th of September. There is a big selection of Sinhala books and less among English ones, but either way there’s discounts.


BMICH is huge. I really wish they had proper ‘THIS WAY TO’ signs as soon as you walk in, and little golf carts to carry you around if you’re a lazy lump like me. When you walk in, the book fair is to the right side of the main hall, at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Center. There are a whole lot of stalls at the fair but I’m going to give you the highlights.

The talking robot in Hall A (Samudra)


  • Hall A is entirely English books, and has got Vijitha Yapa, Makeens, Perera-Hussein, Jeya Bookshop, Oxford and Samudra. Watch out for the life-size robot in Samudra. Yes, there’s an actual talking robot at the book fair.
  • Hall B is entirely Sinhala books, has a lot of stalls that have English-Sinhala translated novels, textbooks, Wasana bookstores which is pretty big, and an entire stall dedicated to Martin Wickremasinghe novels. If you’re an artist, the Sakura Art stall in the corridor between the halls is a good place to stop at.


  • Hall C & D: M.D. Gunasinghe bookshop is in Hall C and Sarasavi bookshop is in Hall D. Next to Hall C is the Children’s Corner by British Council where you can leave your kids as they will be distracted by face-paint and story-time and what not, while you go flail through the book fair. Next to Hall D is the food – the Mount Lavinia Hotel food court and The Sovereign hotdogs and slushies. Also, the huge ProMate stall for stationery.


In terms of selection where the English books are concerned, it’s a lot of generic stuff (Sidney Sheldon, 50 Shades, Jeffrey Archer, and so on), nothing so new. But since books in Colombo are anyway usually expensive, it’s a huge relief to see ‘20% off’ tags dangling from the ceilings, and there’s the plus point of having all our bookstores in one place. Besides the usual stores, there’s also a couple of Indian ones like Parragon India though the selection there is slim.

There is also this insane deal for lovers of classics, in the Sarasavi stall outside – plenty of shelves of it too. Classics are also quite cheap at Makeen’s. A few other things worth mentioning: Perera-Hussein in Hall A promises 40 to 50% discounts (what!), the Sakura Art stall between the halls has got everything from charcoal pencils to millimeter pens for great prices, and Makeen’s has a nice wide combo of books on display.

Comics (Tin-Tin more or less) and our favourite trilogies are still pricey at the fair, though you might find some coffee table books at Sarasavi that are way less expensive than they would be outside. Great deals at the ProMate stationery stall outside at big 40% discounts. Also the outside stalls are nicer to book-shop at as they seem better air-conditioned, less cramped and there’s sunlight pouring in through the big glass doors.

There are plenty of translated novels from English and even Russian to Sinhala at Samira’s and CBS indoors, and in Akura and Sarasavi outside. And although I said the selection seems generally predictable, if you spend enough time browsing through (as any avid book-shopaholic will tell you) you’ll find some mad deal hiding between shelves – like the Roald Dahl Treasury we found in Sarasavi, or the short stories by Oscar Wilde book we discovered for less than Rs. 300.


There’s a popcorn guy right outside the building entrance, Rs. 50 a packet. If you want a serious meal, head towards Hall D, next to which is the Mount Lavinia Hotel food court where you get short-eats and meals quite cheap. But The Sovereign stall seemed more appetizing – get a yummy hotdog for Rs. 130 here (you can watch them cook on the grill too), and a slushie at the Slush Bar for Rs. 100. There’s also a spicy Maggi cart towards the main exit where you can get a cup of noodles for just Rs. 80.


We love the Colombo Book Fair, because it’s Colombo’s biggest book lovers’ event, with the additional pro of discounts. The English selection is ordinary this year, the Sinhala stalls are plenty, and the bargains are exciting. So it’s definitely worth heading out to for good deals.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Top Burger Joints of 2024

Written by Fathima Rukaiya, Who doesn't adore a juicy, mouthwatering burger? But finding the ideal

Highlights Kamu

Ramada Colombo: Break Your Fast in Style with a Luxurious Iftar

Written by Shamrina CIt’s that holy month of the year again for all Muslims around

Highlights Kamu

A blissful evening at The Sheraton Colombo Nestled in the heart of Colombo, the Sheraton Colombo hotel epitomizes luxury and sophistication.

Highlights Kamu

Iftar delights at The Banyan, Heritance Negombo

Iftar delights at The Banyan, Heritance Negombo Written by Fathima Rukaiya, Mad Dogs Bodega, Banyan

Highlights Kamu

A Culinary Journey Through the Middle East: Ramadan Iftar Buffet at Cinnamon Grand Courtyard 

By Shamindri De Sayrah Embark on a culinary adventure through the Middle East this Ramadan


Budget-friendly Iftar spots 2024

Written by Fathima Rukaiya, In our previous article, we highlighted some exquisite and upscale Iftar

Highlights Kamu


MSI Unveils New Laptops Tailored for Content Creators: The Content Creation Series

MSI has unveiled an updated range of laptops designed specifically for content creation, introducing new


Unveiling the Latest MSI Gaming Laptops: A Detailed Look at High-Performance and Mainstream Options

MSI, a distinguished name in the world of laptop manufacturing, has recently unveiled its latest


MSI Unveils Waves of AI-Ready Laptops & Its First Gaming Handheld at CES 2024

Powered By The Brand New Intel® Core™ Ultra & Refreshed 14th Gen HX-series processors With the zeitgeist


Sun Siyam Pasikudah announces exclusive offers for locals and residents this Sinhala and Tamil New Year

Guests are in for an unforgettable experience this Sinhala and Tamil New Year at Sun


Bombay Borough Introduces an Exciting Culinary Chapter with Its New Menu Launch

Bombay Borough, an all-day Indian Bar & Eatery known for emphasising hyperlocal and regional Indian


Sri Lankan Nights every Wednesday at Radisson Hotel Colombo

The Dine Restaurant at Radisson Hotel Colombo recently saw the launch of ‘Sri Lankan Nights’


Yamu Guide.

Steak Bar: A Grand Sunday Brunch at Kingsbury, Colombo

Written by Shamrina C Welcome to the ultimate brunch experience! Nestled in the heart of

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

9 Special Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

By Fathima Rukaiya Are you trying to find the perfect way to show your special

Highlights Yamu Guide

9 Special Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her

Written by Fathima Rukaiya The season of love is upon us once more, and opinions

Highlights Yamu Guide

Romantic Dinner and High Tea date spots for Valentine’s Day  2024

Written by Shamrina C 1. Via Torino Indulge in a fine dining exclusive 3-Course meal

Highlights Yamu Guide

BYOB Bliss: 16 Places to you can Bring Your Own Bottle!

Written by Shamrina C 1. Giovannis Indulge in Italian flavors, grooving music, pet friendly, and

Highlights Yamu Guide

Unveiling Ramada’s Festive Christmas High Tea Extravaganza!

Written by Shamrina C Mark your calendars for the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of December,

Highlights Yamu Guide