An online lending library, letusread.in, has been launched in the city.

When his father’s mammoth personal collection of around 4,500 books was passed on to him, Anand Nair had an idea to share the wisdom with a larger population. Thus was sown the seeds for letusread.in, an online lending library which was launched earlier this week in the capital city.

“Though my father’s library was a personal collection, he used to lend it to his friends. Our house in Neyyattinkara was thus a meeting point for many in the cultural circles,” says Mr. Anand, who quit his IT job in the U.S. to set shop in his hometown.

With his father’s collection as the base, he set out to add more books to it over the past several months and has added a few thousands more to that number. Tie-ups with flipkart.com and Indian Book Depot have also helped in widening the collection.

The idea of an online lending library, which promises to bring you the book that you choose to your doorstep, is still a novelty in Kerala. A branch of Justbooks, a popular online chain, was opened a couple of years back in Kochi and is fast catching the fancy of the young crowd.

Once they take the membership, customers just have to browse through the vast catalogue available in the website to select the books they want and these will be delivered at a nominal fee.

Membership

There are several varieties of memberships such as pay-per-book, where a percentage of the book’s price is taken as the payment or pay-per-period, where the customer selects the period for which the book can be kept. The service is focussed currently within the city limits stretching from Pappanamcode to Technopark.

The service is mainly aimed at the young crowd who squeeze in library visits into their busy schedule. For customers working at Technopark, there is no delivery fee.

So, how successful will an online lending library at a time when more and more readers prefer to buy books from online book stores which are giving huge discounts. “There is a limit to the number of books one can buy as it is an expensive proposition even considering the huge discounts. So there is still a space for ventures like this. It has already been proved successful in the metros with online stores like Librarywala and Justbooks having huge customer bases. Also, the popular perception of the young generation is that they do not read any books. But book sales and lending statistics prove otherwise,” Mr. Anand says.

He says that the initial investment is one of the factors that prevent more people from starting lending libraries. He plans to expand the library’s collection to 20,000 books by the end of the year.