Library is a book lovers’ paradise. The feeling of getting into that cozy corner and reading books amidst the smell of old paper is an unmatchable experience.
But, has the easy access to ebooks affected the number of people who visit libraries? City Express finds out.
“Though people depend on the internet for other purposes, they still love getting back to physical books to spend some time away from computer,” says Manisha Mohan, from Just Books. 3000 members in the city who visit Just Books to spend some time there is the proof, she tells us. “Print is still a strong medium and that can be seen by the way people still religiously read newspapers,” she says.
Just Books, as a rule does not make ebooks available for their readers. “Even if people request for ebooks, we explain the negative effects it has,” she says.
Vani Mahesh from Easy Lib is also not keen on promoting ebooks. “Reading books that belong to genres like philosophy, travel, management and science fiction require time to read. Hence, readers also choose to have their own copies. Among them, a few may go for an e-copy. Otherwise, everyone loves to come to library and read or rent the book of their choice,” she opines.
According to Vani, most avid readers opt for romance, thriller, literary and fiction and that is the section of readers Easy Lib caters to. “Apart from that, we also have a collection for children,” she adds.
Vani also conducts storytelling workshops for children every week to motivating them to read. “Children should also be encouraged to read at home. Parents can do this by exposing them to interesting books at an early age. Parents should also read with the child and make it an enjoyable experience,” she opines.
E-Books might have replaced libraries for a few but Dr Ramalingam from Hyderabad Library Service says that libraries still remain the only place for information and reference for students, professors and scholars. “We also provide them information from internet but books is what they mostly depend on. For children, we have story books and biographies,” he observes.
Unlike Just Books and Easy Lib, that entered the market recently, RK Library, whose existence dates back to 50 years ago has lost its sheen due to the increasing availability of ebooks.
Abdul Rasheed Khan’s takes care of the library started by his father. “I have lost 90 per cent of readers to ebooks. Though I keep updating the collection, only 10 per cent find their way to the library. Internet and ebooks have affected our business badly,” shares Abdul. He converted the library space into a stationary-cum-library now.