Who said reading printed books is a dying habit in the digital age? Downloading an old classic may be easy, but an online book rental firm in Dubai, which claims to be the first in the UAE, is staying in the game with home delivery thrown in.
Reader’s Paradise (www.readersparadise-me.com) began as a bricks and mortar library in Sharjah six years ago, but establishment costs forced it to move online in May. The shift to cyberspace helped and it now has a wider reach and its founders hope to revive the spirit of reading the good old fashioned way.
So instead of buying book which could prove expensive, you simply can rent at the click of a button and have a book home-delivered if you live in Dubai, Sharjah or Ajman.
“There are no due dates, no late fees and no limited reading hours,” says Rashi Panjabi, co-founder of the concept.
The click-and-rent idea appears to be gaining in popularity, according to the owners of the site with over 600 members, and Rashi says the different plans are for those with varied reading habits.
Packages are classified under Relaxed, Light and Avid depending on reader preferences, with membership rates ranging from Dh95 to Dh200 per month, which makes you wonder if the fees are steep. Rashi, however feels the proof of the pudding is in the reading.
“Looking at the response we have received, people are definitely interested in reading and renting books.” The company owner claims 150 members have been added in just over a month from Dubai alone.
Under the Relaxed Reader plan, a member can choose six adult books every month, or 12 children’s books. On the other hand, a paperback may cost you Dh40 to buy, while a hardcover version can put you back by Dh90 at least.
“It is expensive to buy books, people are switching to television for entertainment. By introducing this library concept with free delivery, UAE residents can get back the joy of reading,” according to Rashi.
Novels are the fast movers, followed by children’s authors. The online library, which has over 10,000 books, is constantly replenishing its stock and has tie-ups with international suppliers. Rashi hopes to expand the e-library’s reach later, but says the focus is now on Dubai. Click to rent and read is another option for readers, who have never had it so good with a surfeit of choices.