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Books to borrow: Web libraries in India

Books to borrow: Web libraries in India

Still complaining that there are no libraries where you live? Well, they’ve all gone online. So it doesn’t matter where the book shelves are anymore. Just browse and borrow.

It’s as simple as you think. With an online library, you subscribe, then browse for what you want and the books get delivered. When you request a new book, the old books are picked up. It’s a seamless process that not only saves you time and money, but allows you to keep your hobby alive. Here are your options:

Doorstep Books
A library as well as a bookstore, Doorstep Books boasts a collection of over 6,000 titles. These range from the bestsellers (Shiva Trilogy and John Grisham to Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Kiyosaki) to literature (John Steinbeck and Margaret Atwood) and even Bengali and Hindi books. New books come in all the time. When we checked (August 26, 2013), Amartya Sen’s An Uncertain Glory was already part of the collection.
Where? All India
Pricing Starts from Rs220 a month (minimum three months)
Registration fees Rs300
Security deposit Rs1,000
Penalties No late fees/due date
E-books No

Book Me a Book
Oddly named, this one caters only to Delhi and NCR. Unfortunate, because it claims over 20,000 titles. It, too, doesn’t have any fines or penalty for late returns. The only condition is that your next set of books will not be delivered unless you are ready to return the previous one. With different membership plans targeted at various kinds of readers, pick-up and deliveries take around 24 hours. Books are well-sectioned, into various categories: you’ll find chick lit, new Mills & Boon, the latest from Indian authors (fiction and non-fiction), graphic novels and classics.
Where? Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad
Pricing Starts from Rs100 a month
Registration fees None
Security deposit Rs500
Penalties No late fees/due date
E-books No

British Council Library
Let’s not start discussing their mammoth selection. Fiction, non-fiction, bestsellers (many in hardcover), research material, magazines, they’ve got them all. And they’re not even the most expensive (but you must pay for the entire year at once). If you’re also interested in reading non-English titles, don’t pick them; English is all they have. But they’re the only library with e-books.
Where? Mumbai and Navi Mumbai
Pricing Starts from Rs133 a month (1,600 a year)
Registration fees Rs300
Security deposit None
Penalties No late fees/due date
E-books Yes

This operation claims to be India’s first online library. In the six years it has been running, it has amassed a collection of over 30,000 books. You can select from a number of plans as per your reading habits, while delivery and pick-up from your home is carried out by this library free of charge. Books are also available in Marathi and Gujarati.
Where? Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune.
Pricing Starts from Rs80 a month.
Registration fees Rs500
Penalties No late fees/due date
E-books No

My Online Library
Based only in Kolkata, you can subscribe to any one of its membership plans which gives you access to up to 10 books a month. Unlike other online libraries, you get a maximum of two weeks to finish reading your book after which you need to reapply to renew its tenure. There is also a delivery charge of Rs10 for any orders beyond 5km from the library. As compared to the other libraries on this list, its selection is very limited.
Where? Kolkata
Pricing Starts from Rs110 a month.
Registration fees Rs300
Penalties Due date of two weeks
E-books No

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