Online Libraries in Mumbai – A review by Tatjana Chen

A few weeks back, fellow foodie and book lover Tatjana Chen introduced me to an amazing online library here in Mumbai which since then I absolutely love and use as much as my Audible account (I listen a lot to audio books). So, I asked her to share her experience with all of you… Hope you enjoy this guest blog post 🙂


Tired of trying to get to your library before closing and ending up paying late-fees because you didn’t manage? Annoyed of having to leave your home at all in this rainy weather just to satisfy your weekly book-need? Or maybe, after moving to Mumbai, you have not yet found a library that houses all your favorite books?

Well, here is the solution: online book circulations! The basic idea is as follows: you choose from an online catalog of thousands of books, pay a very reasonable subscription fee for which you can keep x number of books for as long as it takes you to read them and – the best at the end – you get them delivered to and picked up from your door step.

Here an overview of the three main services available in Mumbai:

  www.BigBooks.com www.librarywala.com www.justbooksclc.com
Number of books 117,000+ books 75.000+ 53.000+
Collection – 10 categories and several sub-categories – huge number of categories

– books in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi

– offering magazines as well

– 20 different languages: Indian, European etc.

Subscription plans – unlimited books every month

– plans start at 200,- Rs. per month, one book at a time

110,- Rs. one book per month – 4 plans available

– 300,- Rs. per month, 2 books at a time

 

Additional costs? None – 500 Rs. registration

– 500 Rs. refundable security deposit

Depending on plan:

– 250 Rs. registration fee

– up to 750 Rs. refundable deposit

– 50 Rs. delivery

– 100 Rs. for magazines

Other comments – cash payment available – no cash payment

– many membership plans make the selection very complicated

– no cash payment

– service not yet available in all parts of Mumbai

I chose www.BigBooks.com because they have simple and easy membership plans, a cash payment option and no registration or security fees. A nice bonus is that they offer to buy your old books. Best of all has been the speedy service. Sunday I found out about them, logged in and got my QList (the list of books you are interested in) filled. Monday morning at 11am I had the first book in my hands as well as the receipt for my cash payment. I can’t remember having seen anything like it in Bombay!

Not everything is perfect though. The catalog didn’t have many of the titles I was looking for. However, they do have the option of suggesting books you would want them to include in their collection. Also, you are not able to order one specific book. Instead which ever book from the top of your list is available will reach you next. While I found that strange and annoying at first, I now look forward to my book delivery almost like little kids to their birthdays: what am I getting this time??? Last but not least, you are not able to book a specific time slot for your book delivery which might make it difficult for full-time working people. The delivery boys do make an effort though and call before they come and maybe you can even get it delivered to your workplace as alternative.

For me, the benefits definitely outweigh the challenges and I highly recommend signing up.


How did you like this article? Are you using any online libraries or do you prefer to visit “real” libraries? And which is your favorite book? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

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