I’m amazed by this mad rush of people trying to sell me books online in India. If you’re like me who reads a lot and probably hunts around for the best bargains before taking out the wallet now has more options than ever to consider.
Indiaplaza.in was my old favorite. However, their failiure to keep up with the times has forced me to migrate to Flipkart.com, which is probably the #1 company in this business right now. It’s amazing how they emerged and continue to maintain the #1 position in this business despite fierce competition from all around. a1books.co.in and books.rediff.com along with landmarkonthenet.com sell books too. iBibo is there to grab a slice of every pie so they have Tradus.in/books. And then there’s UpRack.com – A recent entry in this space. I met the founder recently at a startup event. He has an impressive track record so I’ll definitely keep a watch on this site. But someone please tell me why everyone I know who has worked at Amazon starts his own e-bookstore! . If there is still any book which you could not find in any of these stores, there’s always the good old Amazon.com – They ship books to India but charge a hefty shipping fees.
Why order books when you can get them for free? Flazx stocks a comprehensive collection of almost every technical e-book you can think of. It’s illegal of course. Project Gutenberg continues to remain a popular source of free e-books.
e-Book readers are the latest craze, especially among the young and affluent crowd. Although I resisted the idea at first, I got one pretty soon. Amazon Kindle is my preffered device and you can read my full review of the Amazon Kindle if you are thinking of ordering one. Infibeam Pi has a decent collection of books to choose from plus huge catalog of books with expired copyrights. There’s also iBooks from Apple and Google Books but both are yet to gain popularity in India.
Books on the phone:
Dial-a-Book, run by my ex-colleague Mayank Dhingra is one of my personal favorites right now. Just give them a call, get a quote and place the order. They deliver in 1-2 days and take the payment as cash. Om Bookstores also offers home delivery of books but take a delivery charge.
Real World Bookstores:
Crossword, Om Bookstore, Teksons, Landmark, Galgotia, Jain Books, Janta Books and Midland Bookshop, all seem to be doing brisk business.
I’m amazed how many options exist right now and everyone in the business is doing well. Someone I know compared this with a chai-wala business – you can put up a chai stall almost anywhere in India and it will sell!
But haven’t we been told that people are reading less and less these days and reading books are passe? It’s surprising that so many entrepreneurs still jumped into the book selling business and are successful too! My bet is that books are only a starting point (and a good one), but pretty soon they all will be forced to expand to other categories as well.