An addiction like reading is never fatal, we say. And the more we give to it, it is better for our mind, body and soul. Feeding to the frenzy is the latest entrant in the market, IndiaReads.com, which is an interesting online library cum bookstore with a presence in around 300 stores. In this digital age, where time is really of essence, such services are vital. Pranil Bafna, CEO, IndiaReads.com gives in the details regarding this website which has now opened its services for netizens in Pune.
Since 2009, IndiaReads has been making sure that books are easily available to those interested. “With a vision to create one central knowledge resource that everybody across the country can access, IndiaReads opened its library for audience in 500 plus cities. The planning for IndiaReads has always been driven by the goal of making the experience enjoyable for the user. Since we are in the service industry, customer experience drives all our actions and developments.”
Quite a few such online bookstores have opened around India. While a few shut shop, there are others which are doing pretty for themselves. Isn’t that a competition? Pranil thinks their approach is different. “We are focused on customers. The portal is fairly intuitive and we keep our ears on ground to understand their problems. Library collection is an important aspect and we proudly mention that we are a user-driven library. We track user behaviour, their wishlist and update our library collection accordingly. This creates a win-win situation for both the parties. The users get to read what they really want to read and we don’t end up piling wrong inventory. Our logistics provide us an edge. We are capable to deliver everywhere in the country within two business days (In metros, we deliver the next day itself). Lastly, we put a lot of energy to engage our audience. Our book-recommendation engine guides the user to choose their next read.”
According to Pranil, the system of lending out books is quite simple. “A user needs to choose a membership plan. A basic plan costs around Rs 200 per month. The user finds books of his interest and adds them to his “bookshelf”. The user then places a delivery request. The book is set off for delivery the same day. Done reading, the user demands the next set. With the delivery of next set, the old set is collected. The process is hassle-free and user-convenience is at the centre in the entire scheme of things.”
Pune can be called a book mad city and all kinds of books especially those in Marathi are big here. There are already interesting shops and online offers for the citizens. One expects something better from IndiaReads. Pranil notes, “I keep travelling to Pune and I am a big fan of the energy of Punekars. Pune is a huge education and IT hub. Our offering suits tech-savvy audience. Today, we host a collection in English and Hindi. We are in the process of building a collection in eight regional languages in India. So, you can expect Marathi books soon, very soon.”
According to Pranil, the toughest part of running such an outfit like this is managing to pick-up books from all locations in the country. “However, we have established stable reverse logistics. We have had an amazing response from across India. The response has been really overwhelming from smaller cities where people did not have access to affordable reading options before this.”
Pranil has big plans for IndiaReads. He ends by adding, “E-books will be available soon on IndiaReads.com. Apart from this, readers will be able to connect to their favourite authors soon.” Well, reading got better for one and all with IndiaReads.com.