They are the havens for the book-lovers. You find all sorts of books from the paperback issues of your fav mags to Jewellery design books to the crockery to cookery and the Science, fiction, as well as my favs the P Sainath, Thomas Friedmans. Its all out there baby and at affordable prices. Call it second hand / pirated / used but the truth is they are the havens of book collectors. Although some of them are at half or even quarter the price of the originals sold in the Glossy showrooms they are somethings that middle class book lovers love to hang around especially if its a Sunday you have crowds flocking them.
No doubt that the book reading has gone down but not to the alarming levels that you see in the columnists bizare dreams. It serves two purposes one provides an affordable literature (all subj wen I say Literature) and the second is provides employment to whole lot of people from the RADDIwallah (Old n used book buyers) to the rag pickers to the book sellers that collect all these and sell it for you on the pavements of all major cities.