Looking for books? Try online

March 27th, 2011 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) If you can’t find a particular book at your favourite bookshop, join the growing league of net savvy Indians who buy their reading stuff on the internet and get discount and free delivery right at their doorstep.

“Until a few years back, getting a particular title was a hectic job involving a visit to at least four to five bookstores that were far from home. Now all I have to do is click a mouse,” says Arindo Ghosh, a banker and book lover who lives in east Delhi.

With all major publishers having online bookstores, the e-revolution in book selling has truly come as a boon to readers and publishers as well.

“People are buying in very big numbers on the web now,” says Gaurav Sabharwal, co-founder of the recently-launched uread.com, the e-book store of publisher Prakash Books which released Jeffrey Archer’s latest book “Only Time Will Tell”.

The service was launched March 12, and currently has 3,000 orders of approximately Rs.500 each, he said.

Sabharwal spoke of receiving more than a thousand orders in a week. “We are doing more than 1,000 orders a week and we hope to double it in three months,” he says.

“Online book sales have significantly picked up in the last year. One has the convenience of higher discounts and free delivery to their doorstep. In addition, one does not even need a credit card as one can use the COD (cash on delivery) option,” said Sabharwal.

Agreeing with the assessment, Pranav Johri, marketing director of publishers Rajpal and Sons, which also has its e-book store www.republishing.com, says e-book stores are fast catching up and the size of the market online is four to five times that in traditional retail.

“It’s growing exponentially and is effective four to five times the traditional retail. E-bookstores are a great medium for book lovers and the choice is wide,” he said.

Apart from having their own e-book ordering sites, publishers also choose to go along with other popular book ordering sites such as Flipkart and Infibeam.

“Flipkart and Infibeam are great portals and are growing very fast. We get orders for hundreds of books in a week from all the online market or portals,” said Johri.

Among the key features of these stores is the discount and hassle-free delivery which are attracting people the most.

“I had my misgivings before I ordered from an e-book store, as we are always doubtful about the unconventional. The best thing is I don’t even need a credit card and the book reaches right at my doorstep and I can browse through more titles according to the category I want without the shop attendant’s irritated looks,” says Shalini Mishra, a software executive living in Gurgaon.

Sabharwal also highlighted the ease of finding books on their sites.

“The book database is searchable by author, title or subject. The books are categorised in hundreds of categories and sub-categories,” he said.

Interestingly, the trend on online browsing and ordering is not limited to the tech-savy readers of metro cities, with the publishers saying they get as many orders from smaller cities.

“On our own website, we have people from all over ordering books online, more so from small towns because they might not have exclusive book shops. Online shopping is more convenient and they have more choice,” said Johri.

Sabharwal also said a lot of orders are being received from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.

So just log on and browse away.

(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at anjali.o@ians.in)

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