Forget the glamourous Jaipur Lit Fest or the quintessential Kolkata Book Fair. This Monday when you are at Pragati Maidan for the World Book Fair, you will be greeted by the newest innovation in publishing - virtual bookstands and newsstands.
Delhiites will be able to go to a special stall and scan a QR code of particular books, magazines, comics, newspapers or journals they want on their cell phones or tablets, after which those can be purchased online or on mobile devices and the content gets digitally delivered to them.
"Once you scan the QR code alongside the image of a particular book, it will redirect you to a webpage or application page from where you can make the purchase. It is the de facto reading device on which people will be hooked," a source said.
Brought to India for the first time by Gurgaon-based Readwhere.com, this online digital published content bookstand will also make available out-of-print books to interested readers. "There is no hassle of printing as just by buying the e-book, one can own the treasured copy of a particular book on one's smartphone or tablet," Manish Dhingra, managing director of the website, said.
According to Dhingra, this will encourage digital reading among the masses. "People are becoming tech-savvy and embracing total connectivity through tablets and cell phones. According to a recent analysis, in India around 250,000 tablets are being sold each month. So people will increasingly start consuming e-magazines, e-books, e-papers and e-comics on these devices, since they allow you the flexibility of carrying your publications with you, stay connected to what their friends are reading, maintain their archives and so on," he said.
So what is the future of this unique piece of technology in our country? According to Dhingra, after its showcasing at the fair, if bookstores show interest these virtual bookstands can open up in all parts of the country. "However, it will require a lot of basic infrastructure like a comprehensive database and e-commerce. It took us three years to prepare this," he said.