Pamper the reader and writer in you on a few of these digital Platforms

Amazon is gobbling this up. Amazon is spitting that out. There was a time when Jeff Bezos only sold books and that’s how he made his first name J$£¥! One of his big catches while fishing for companies has been The Book Depository in 2011.

By Mathures Paul
  • Published 23.07.18
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THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

Amazon is gobbling this up. Amazon is spitting that out. There was a time when Jeff Bezos only sold books and that’s how he made his first name J$£¥! One of his big catches while fishing for companies has been The Book Depository in 2011. The London HQ-ed company has as USP “free shipping” worldwide. Unlike on regular e-commerce websites, here book prices include shipping. The feel of the website is turn-of-the-century, yes, very 2004, the year the company started, but the collection is great. It wouldn’t make sense to buy every book from this website because most of the titles available on Amazon come at similar prices. But if you are looking for a book which involves high import charges, take a look at this website. We tried buying Learn to Program with Scratch by Majed Marji and ended up paying roughly Rs 350 extra on Amazon.in.

RADISH

Serialised stories have always been popular and Radish delivers. The content is mostly from self-published authors, covering genres like fantasy, paranormal and a lot of erotica and romance. Some of the stuff is worse than Fifty Shades and some have moments that can take on the “red room of pain”. There is enough to snack on. According to Wired, in May last year it had around 300,000 readers and books from 700 authors.

VIALIBRI.NET

The website doesn’t sell books but it is a search engine which tells you who is selling a copy of a rare title. A few days ago, The New York Times published an article on how the paperback One Snowy Night by Deborah Macgillivray is available from one seller on Amazon for $2,630.52 while a few others have marked it at 99 cents. The pricing has been rectified but what if it was a rare book and you really wanted to know the different prices available. We looked up Desmond Morris’s Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of over 1,000 Dog Breeds and found a paperback version of the book on Amazon India for Rs 1,500. ViaLibri.net suggests AbeBooks and Biblio where it’s available for $4 (shipping extra). Billy Bunter, here we come!

INKITT

This Berlin-based start-up, launched in 2015, is finding takers on the app stores. At the helm is Ali Albazaz, a software coder, who is helping people discover new titles. According to Bloomberg, Inkitt has about 300,000 monthly active users. Last year, it published 50 books, including the romantic thriller Reaper’s Claim (by Simone Elise), which climbed to #12 on Amazon’s e-book bestselling list. The “reading lists” on the app is well-labelled — High School, Secrets, Friendship, College, Assassins, Superhero and so on.

WATTPAD

Online since 2006, it has 65 million unique visitors per month. There are the usual reading categories but it’s the fan fiction segment that’s a major draw here. Consider this, Bad Reputation (focuses on Shawn Mendes) has 1.62 million readers and Misconception (Drake is the central character) has 317,000 readers. This is a top app among youngsters.

ABEBOOKS

Rare and out-of-print book collectors know all about this Amazon-owned website. Founded in 1995 by two Canadians, it brought together independent second-hand booksellers around the world. If J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories is on your mind and $4,500 is in your wallet, a hardcover first edition of the 1953 book is waiting for you.

IA WRITER

There are several mobile phone word processors out there but this one is an all-time favourite. iA Writer is as minimalist as it can get with a ‘focus mode’ (makes the sentence you are keying in stand out) and ‘night mode’. Also included, word count, character count and file export options (PDF and Doc formats).

COMIXOLOGY 

Nothing can replace reading the print edition of comics but if you must go digital, there is Comixology (another Amazon company!), the go-to distributor of digital comics. Based in New York, it’s the site if you want to buy and read graphic novels and comics.

PRATILIPI

This homegrown self-publishing portal is focused on regional languages. The beta version of Pratilipi launched in 2014 and since then it has delivered countless titles in regional languages. The average user profile on the platform are people in the 18 to 34 age group with 50 per cent of the readers (56 per cent are women) coming from the top seven cities while Tier II and III cities contribute 43 per cent. The idea is to offer everyone equal access to books, irrespective of language.