To Read

U : Ubuntu

If you love to read, get a book home
delivered by ILoveRead.in

#JoyofReading: The online library service operational across five cities – Gurugram, Noida,
Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai – allows one to read a book at one’s pace, in the comfort
of one’s home and that too without having to worry for due dates or late fines.
So dig deep into books to beat the heat this summer.

Shefali Malhotra, who heads the library at Delhi/NCR, is an engineer-turned-entrepreneur.
She calls herself a happy owner and proud slave at ILoveRead.in.

The gruelling summer months are here. And what better than books to beat the heat. So if you and your kids are book lovers, and always wished that you didn’t have to step out in this heat to hunt for your favourite one, then look no further. There’s a genie called IloveRead.in, an online library service with operations across Gurugram, Delhi, Noida, Bengaluru and Chennai that does just that – deliver books at home. One can simply login, and look out for their kind of book, find it, click the plus button to add it to the queue, then click on the ask for delivery button, and if it is readily available, it will be delivered soon after. And guess what, there are no due dates and no late fines. It allows to read a book at one’s pace in the comfort of one’s home. The subscription charges are nominal and packages are available for one month, two months, six months and 12 months.

Book wise

The portal serves as a platform of libraries across India and to borrow, all that one needs to do is select books listed on the website and ask for a delivery at home or office. Once that book has been read, one can ask for another delivery so the earlier books are picked up and new ones delivered in no time. There are special booklists, age-specific lists and the website is super intuitive to help one discover favourite books. There are different sections such as New Arrivals, Recently Returned, Most Popular, Special Lists that has a curated collection of titles, Serendipity that gives one the freedom to choose from a random list of books, and My Requests to help you ask the library to buy the book that you so want to read. And not just books, there’s a lot more that IloveRead.in does. Shefali Malhotra, who heads the library operations in Delhi/NCR, adds, “As the name suggests, we try to bring in personal touch and share our love of books with our readers. The platform is very easy to use and really makes life easy for the reader, we help discover books online by making special lists, etc. Readers and our experts curate the library, people can suggest new books online, and we try best to procure the same.”

Hooked to books

It was started for the sheer love of books by Amrutash and Sahil Gore in Chennai in 2009 and is run by a team of book lovers, engineers and budding entrepreneurs. “Combine all that and we started this library. We’ve completed nine long years. In this period many existing libraries across the country have closed down. We’ve survived thanks to the love our patrons have shown us and our passion, but mainly love of readers,” says Malhotra, engineer-turned-entrepreneur who calls herself a happy owner and proud slave at ILoveRead.in.

In the era of digital reading, she feels that libraries are even more important. “We try to get best of both worlds. The library is automated and online i.e. order books online and get it home delivered, swap when done. People are forced to choose E-books due to the ease of storage, accessibility, variety of genre, value for money, etc.

But nothing beats the sweet smell of real books,” quips Malhotra.

She agrees that book lovers are hard to find and library concept is new to explain. “But once they understand and try, they stick with us for years,” she says on an optimistic note.

In the digital age, it is no mean feat to survive and stay afloat, even though it is an everyday struggle to meet operations cost. “It is not about online or offline library. It is a question of lifestyle choices to choose books over gadgets, to choose a library visit over indoor gaming play area! We do this because we are passionate about books, Period. We are hoping for a day when no more libraries have to close down! In the last four years of Delhi operations, I have witnessed five libraries shut down. The day our interest topple over profits, we shall have to look at other lucrative business models,” she says.

Challenges galore

Social media, digital influence, a downward spiral in the reading pattern are all challenges for IloveRead.in. “First and foremost sniff enough readers to sustain. It’s scary as libraries close every day across the world! We dream to have a beautiful physical place, insanely optimistic that the maths would fit in one day, Amen! We also hope to cover pan-India super soon,” she says. ILoveRead also does lots of offline events, storytelling sessions to help engage listeners and potential readers. IloveRead.in also provides library support for schools, organise literary events, literature festivals, and book fairs, conduct storytelling session for children and adults and hold teacher workshops. “We call ourselves ‘the walking book fairs’. It is a tough battle as we also have a task at hand to generate awareness and make people realize the importance of spending time and money for good quality storytelling for children/adults, literary events, book launches, workshops etc. The warmth and smiles we receive at the end of every event is worth all the efforts and keeps us going,” she says with a smile.

IloveRead.in also keeps hosting lots of offline events throughout the year and also partners with two bigger literature festivals such as gclf.in and kukdukoolitfest.com.

She welcomes book lovers to explore the collection at iloveread.in. So go take your pick.

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