Friday, April 27, 2012

BUYING BOOKS - Paradigm Shift - IS THE TRADITIONAL BOOK STORE OBSOLESCENT ? - The Rise of FLIPKART and ONLINE BOOKSTORES


A few days ago, I spent the entire afternoon browsing books in Manneys, one of Pune's iconic bookstores.  This may have been probably my last browse in Manney's Book Store Pune since Manneys, a landmark of Pune,  announced a few months ago that is going to close down and indeed may have even shut shop as you read this. 

With the advent and proliferation of internet, the way we are buying books is fast changing. Buying books online is not only convenient (and you get a better deal too) for book buyers but is also a boon for new authors who find it difficult to market and sell their books through traditional bookstores.  

Here is an updated version of a post I wrote some time back  titled DEATH OF THE BOOKSTORE 

IS THE TRADITIONAL BOOK STORE OBSOLESCENT ?
The Rise of FLIPKART and ONLINE BOOKSTORES
Musings of a Book Lover and Budding Writer
By
VIKRAM KARVE

A few days ago, when I was walking down Tilak Road in Pune, my childhood friend hailed me while getting out his car (He is a businessman and runs a successful enterprise).

“Come,” he said, “let’s have a cup of tea in my office.”

It was 9 AM and his agency was opening for the day. We sat in his plush office and he ordered a cup of tea for me.

“So, you have become a writer!” he said, “I read all about you in the DNA on Sunday.”

“Well, yes,” I said. The Sunday Supplement of the DNA Newspaper had featured a nice write-up on me, and COCKTAIL my latest book of Short Stories about Relationships.

“The moment I saw your photo, I read the article and showed it to my wife and kids and told them you were my brilliant classmate in school who went to IIT and then joined the Navy. 
Now you have become a full time writer. I like one thing about you. You always do something different – first the navy, then a professor and now a writer. 
You wrote a book about food also, didn’t you? 
I remember you gave me a copy when I came to your place in Mumbai.”

“Yes,” I said, “Appetite for a Stroll.”

“You must give me copy of Cocktail too.”

“No free copy this time,” I said, “You will have to buy the book. You are a rich guy and this Cocktail costs much less than the Cocktail you sip every evening.”

“Come on, yaar, it is not about money. I just do not have the time to go shopping in bookstores. I work 24/7 and whatever time I get off I like to relax at home or at my club.”

“You’ve got an internet connection here?” I asked pointing to his PC Monitor.

“Of course, can you do business without internet?”

“Come on, order the book online,” I said.

“Hey, I am quite scared of using my credit card online, especially to an unknown site,” he said.

“No problem,” I said, “Flipkart will send you the book Cash on Delivery – you pay the courier when he gets the book – like the earlier VPP.”

It was simple. 


We opened the flipkart website, he ordered the book cash on delivery, immediately got an SMS with a code, confirmed his order. 


Three days later my friend gave me a call that COCKTAIL had arrived and he had already read a few stories and liked them.

It is thanks to the internet that my book COCKTAIL has reached so many readers – via Flipkart and Indiaplaza


A few copies were ordered via dial-a-book too and those abroad have been able to get their copies by ordering via the publisher’s website.

Even for a newbie author like me, it was quite easy “marketing” my book online on my own without having to depend on my publisher to do it. 


Again this was possible thanks to the internet. 


I did it on Social Networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and Linkedin, I sent emails to my friends and contacs, I wrote about my book on my blogs on blogger, sulekha and wordpress, I put it on my yahoo groups and google groups, various alumni networks, and then I sent SMS to all my contacts and friends.  


It was easy – I just had to give them the links to flipkart, indiaplaza and other online bookstores to click on and order COCKTAIL online. The results have exceeded my expectations. 


Maybe because of the sheer ease and instantaneous speed of ordering online (and the fact that you could do it sitting right there and then), the convenience of getting the book delivered to your doorstep, most of my friends have procured a copy of COCKTAIL. 


Well, COCKTAIL has been reviewed online too by some book review and booklover websites and this too must have boosted online sales.

I wonder how many copies of COCKTAIL have been sold across the counter in bookstores. 


I do not understand the intricacies of book distribution (the “business model” or “supply chain”) but the fact of the matter is I have not seen the book prominently displayed in those elite bookstores like Landmark or Crossword where I go to browse once-in-a-while. 


Whenever I ask the publishers, all they tell me is that they have sent the book to the distributors and it will take time. 


The sheer lethargy of the system is quite frustrating, as any author wants his or her book to reach the readers as early as possible. I feel helpless and hapless before the “system”. 


I do not know whether it is true, but a well-wisher told me that you have to give a “mamool” (speed-money or bribe) to have your book displayed prominently, otherwise they will just “bury” the book in the shelves somewhere where it will take some effort for a browser to locate and find.


Of course, I did not believe him and I wait patiently for COCKTAIL to become a “bestseller” and get its well-deserved pride of place. 


Until then, Dear Reader, in case you want to buy COCKTAIL from your favourite bookstore, dig deep and you may find!

A friend from Goa tried to get the book from his favourite bookstore. 


They told him they would get the book but he is still waiting for his copy. 


Readers from Assam, Kerala, Orissa, Kolkata, New Delhi, all over, even abroad, want to buy Cocktail but do not find it in their nearest bookstores.


I am convincing them to buy the book online on Flipkart, as they give discounts too.

By the way, my smart young IT Nerd friend told me that she browses in bookstores, selects her books, then she goes home and orders the books online because of the discounts. In fact, nowadays all types of goods are available online so you can check them out in stories and then order online much cheaper.

Window-shop in Malls and Shop Online - that seems to be the new mantra.

Convenience, speed and transparency make buying books online via the internet an attractive option as compared to going all the way to bookstores and then discover that the book you wanted is not available. 


You can order anytime, anywhere, at home, in office, and get your book delivered anywhere you want, even at the remotest corner of the world. 


I can foresee that initiatives like ordering a book on phone or SMS from dial-a-book and ring-a-book are going to become popular too, especially with the trendy youngsters.

E-Books and E-Readers like Kindle, iPad, Nook, Wink etc are becoming popular day by day and soon we will be downloading ebooks from virtual bookstores and online elibraries via the internet. 


I foresee a situation, in the near future, where authors will be able to directly sell their ebooks to readers via the internet – this would be literary utopia – a seamless interface between the writer and the reader.

Will all this eventually lead to the death of the traditional bookstore? 

With advances in Information Technology and as the reach of the internet proliferates, will the existing book distribution model need to change to keep up with times and to meet the challenge of online book marketing on the internet via online bookstores and also new innovations like dial-a-book? 

Will eBooks become more popular that paper books?

COCKTAIL has been a learning process for me. 


I have experienced first-hand what I once read somewhere – writing a book is much easier than publishing it and selling it. 

I never imagined that it was the author would have to put in so much effort to sell his book. I thought that an author just has to write the book and everyone else would do the rest. Sadly, it is not so.

My Foodie Book APPETITE FOR A STROLL (a gallimaufry of food writing comprising stories of my food adventures and some unique recipes)  sold a large number of copies through FLIPKART and online bookstores than in traditional book shops. 

Now, as I write my novel and I am not going to forget what I learnt from my COCKTAIL experience. 

My first draft is over, but I am not going to hurry, for hurry burry spoils the curry

I am going to take my time, complete the manuscript and find a good literary agent who will guide me and help me get a good deal, with a reputed big publishing house, maybe with an international publisher. 

And of course, I will ensure that my novel is available as an Ebook too, like COCKTAIL.

Thanks for reading all this, Dear Reader – do comment and tell us your views – and don’t forget to order your COCKTAIL


I promise you that you will thoroughly enjoy this delicious heady and exciting COCKTAIL and you will be happy to have this book on your bookshelves.
                                                                                       
Cheers and Happy Reading
With Warm Regards and Best Wishes
VIKRAM KARVE

Book Synopsis

Relationships are like cocktails. Every relationship is a unique labyrinthine melange of emotions, shaken and stirred, and, like each cocktail, has a distinctive flavour and taste. The twenty-seven stories in this collection explore fascinating aspects of modern day relationships: love, romance, sex, betrayal, marriage, parenting and even pet parenting. You will relish reading these riveting cocktails of intermingling emotions narrated in a temptingly engaging style, and once you start reading you will find this delicious “cocktail” unputdownable until the very end.
........................................................................................................................


Book Details

Book: Cocktail: Short Stories about Relationships
Publisher: APK Publishers
Author: Vikram Karve
ISBN-10: 81-910918-4-4
ISBN-13: 978-81-910918-4-7
Binding: Paperback
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Number of pages: 192
Language: English
Publishing Date: March 2011
Edition: First


FOODIE BOOK by VIKRAM KARVE
By

The author blogs about his experiences as he travels various parts of his neighbourhood and samples the foods available there. A sample of his writings are captured in this exquisite book.

Details of Book: Appetite for a Stroll
Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
Author: Vikram Karve
ISBN:  8190690094
ISBN-13: 9788190690096, 978-8190690096
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 2008
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing
Edition: 1stEdition
Number of Pages:    139
Language: English

HAPPY READING and HAPPY WINING (Cocktail) and DINING (Appetite for a Stroll)

VIKRAM KARVE 
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this blog post?
I am sure you will like the 27 fiction short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL 

To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:

http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-8191091844/p/itmdyv8amagkvgpf?pid=9788191091847&affid=nme 
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html


COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART - just click the link below:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-8190690094/p/itmdyv7tdkhzn9vm?pid=9788190690096 

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
   
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