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Read Assamese books on your cell phone

A screen shot of the website

Jorhat, Dec. 25: The only e-store, an online shop, of Assamese novels and short stories, www.assamkart.com, has become more reader friendly in the past six months and is accessible on mobiles and tablets running on Android, iOS and Windows besides laptops and PCs.

While the Android was incorporated in July, Windows was incorporated on December 20.

Bikash Kalita, who co-founded the store with Nabanita Hazarika, said the search for e-books in Assamese usually ended in frustration with some PDF files or scanned pages of books being passed off as e-books. He claimed the site was now as good as amazonkindle.com or Kobo which offer e-books in English.

“The best thing about our site is that once you open an account you can read books not only on your PC and laptop but also on your cell phone and tablet at the page where you had left off,” Kalita said.

“One can change the text, the background, the way you navigate through the book, bookmark the e-books, and even send them as a gift to friends. There is also the provision of borrowing Assamese e-books and gifting them by using the Send As A Gift feature,” he said.

AssamKart was launched in September 2012 and initially had books uploaded in the PDF format. But now they have developed their own format, .AKR, which can be downloaded for free. At present, 250 books are available in AssamKart and 400 are in the process of being uploaded. Kalita said the price was 25-30 per cent less than the market price and 15 books could be downloaded for free.

Of the books downloaded so far, Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s Burhi Aair Xadhu has been the most sought after. Homen Borgohain’s Kathabarta and Hubala and Anuradha Sharma Pujari’s Xun Horinor Sekur, among a few others, are also in demand.

“E-books are the need of the hour as time and space have become a constraint in modern life. On pressing a few buttons, one can read hundreds of books and there is no need to build massive and costly bookshelves, which also occupy space. There is no need to ship books for oneself and wait for them to arrive,” Kalita said. Moreover a tablet or cellphone, which weighs less than a kilo, can be carried anywhere and with a good storage capacity can store thousands of e-books.

Kalita said going by the popularity of the site, they were planning to upload books in other languages of the Northeast as well. “We are thinking of putting in novels by Bodo, Mising, Deori and Karbi writers besides others. Then we will take up books of other writers of the Northeast,” he said.