Friday, August 13, 2010

Words’ worth

Will online book stores be the nemesis of their brick-and-mortar cousins?

Middle school is probably the worst place for a nerd to be in. It's what a cocktail party is to a good K-serial bahu. What McDonalds is to a card-holding communist. And right at the heart of the whirlwind of adolescent hormones, stood the very own panic room. A soberly lit room that smells of paper and words, that indulges a spine to be colourful, and not necessarily uptight. The only place where a nerd society I knew very well, would feel cooler than the middle-school fest queen. Bookstores, have stood for several such slam-book-perfect stories, before an Amazon gatecrashed into their quiet fairytale. And took not long to prove that we were only to willing to have our books delivered at our doorstep.

When Barnes and Noble announced a sell-off, they only made a formal validation of the guilt that we have been living with for some time now. “When you have something definite in mind, buying a book from an online portal is only more convenient. Also, while a brick and mortar bookstore can house not more than 50,000 titles at a time, an online store usually stocks 3-4 million titles. Also discounts offered by these portals are more,” says Sachin Bansal, CEO of, India's answer to Amazon. Ritam Haldar, a media professional, would agree. “What matters is the book. And we can even browse the latest titles on these portals. And the time you take to buy a book on these portals is what you take to update your Facebook status,” says Haldar, emphasizing the demands of a Twitter-happy generation.

Full report here Indian Express

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