January 16, 2014
India’s first crowdsourced library offers delivery services to members
by Claire Kelley
Pushpendra Pandya is a copywriter and librarian who has recently started a new project: a crowdsourced library that aims to provide a book sharing service to its members.
Through the library’s website, residents of Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kerala can join (fees start at 250 rupees or about four dollars per month with no deposits) and browse the book lists in those cities. Pandya and his colleagues will arrange delivery of one book a week for members who can borrow up to 52 books a year. He even offers special perks for the down and out: “The best bit is even broke, jobless, and lonely folks will be getting special discounts, and sometimes complimentary books.” How sweet!
Pandya has gotten a lot of coverage in the Indian press—there have been articles in The Hindu, The New Indian Express, and MidDay. He says his love for physical books inspired him to create the library:
One of the main objectives of creating this library is to ‘save real book reading experience’, — kindle and other e-book formats are killing our age old book-reading experience and I genuinely feel that we need a place where some old-fashioned people like me and you, can sit and read a real book.
Plans are in the works to expand to cities like New Delhi and Coimbatore. Pandya has been focusing on growing his his collection of over 1,500 books, and told The Hindu that “Traveling on Sundays to pick up the books is worth the trouble to meet the donors, who are mostly above 60, and listen to their stories.” The only problem he reports—and most book lovers will certainly understand—is that he’s running out of storage space in his house.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.