INDIAreads: The Local Library Is Now National


Chacha Chaudhary Image Courtesy:

Having a father in the financial sector is bad for your vacations!

Yes you read it right and this I say from personal experience. Your father working in the financial sector would mean that your April summer vacations are his busiest months and that effectually means no going out of the city. So what do you do all summer when all the friends are away being part of photo albums? My most distinct memories of spending summers in Bhopal are a water cooler, a hassled mother and a pile of comics borrowed from the local library. Forget the other two, lets talk about those borrowed comics or even better about our local library.

I remember those insta-libraries that would loan out three chacha chaudhary and the party’s adventures for a deposit fee of Rs. 2o. Then you can keep reading, returning and picking up new ones for a reading fee of Rs. 10 for next three comics. Cool and convenient it seemed then – no buying or stocking, just read and return. Years went by and the summer library borrowing turned into a permanent library membership at the British Library and the reading and returning continued.

Ten years from then, life stands changed today. The book choices have changed and so has the availability. The local library stacks books that my grandmother may want to read, if forced. The bookstores are not always near and are constantly space constipated. So the best choice I may have of reading a book I want to, is to haggle with the vendor boy selling pirated copies at the traffic signal or mouse wrestle for a home delivery at the various online bookstore sites, of course putting aside physical and wallet space to accommodate them.

While I sat cribbing my sorry state about, there was magic happening somewhere in Noida. A group of people were getting my local library online! A local library with a national presence is the new address. An online library cum bookstore that delivers any book at our doorsteps, anytime, anywhere in the country and that includes our busy bee, trafficked Mumbai.

I was pleasantly surprised that they work like any online shopping site – we can register and create our account with them and ask them to deliver our favorite books at our doorstep but the twist is we don’t have to buy the books; we can borrow them (yes the local library factor). So we just register with the refundable security deposit and the selected monthly plan à la the one at the old library, only we won’t get to pay to a grumpy cashier, and we can start reading.

India Reads has also taken care of another problem of picking up and returning the books along with that of the unresponsive librarian because we just have to click and they will do both – deliver as well as pick up as and when we ask them and we also have the liberty to read at our own pace. In spite of being based out of NOIDA the good news for Mumbai is that they have an at-par service in the city. They have a physical nodal centre in Goregoan to facilitate the services and deliver in two working days.

While they are getting the library back by renting out book, they are also attempting to get the good old librarian  back by offering quick review and recommendations through the book counselor service. “Mumbai is covered under the special ‘Metro Package’ on the subscription plans list and we have plans to hold interactive events in the city along with taking authors to campuses across the city under Literathon, which is exclusively conducted for educational institutions”, says CEO, Gunjan Veda, who is a writer herself having co-authored Beautiful Country: Stories from Another India with Dr Syeda Hameed.

For an aamMumbaikar who likes to devour the likes of Dan Brown or Arvind Adiga, the paperbacks of whom run into the excess of Rs. 450, reading the same book, in original, for around 100 bucks is not a bad deal. minus the heartache of stacking it up in the real estate crunched Mumbai

Have you come across one that interests you beyond the conventional, that eases your reading experience? Tell us, we are waiting to try out.

Post By Reshmy Pillai (16 Posts)

Story seeker - anytime, anyplace; after all stories are not always necessarily found in books. Chain reader, writer, blogger, books reviewer.


Reshmy Pillai

Reshmy Pillai
Story seeker - anytime, anyplace; after all stories are not always necessarily found in books. Chain reader, writer, blogger, books reviewer.