Sunday, February 15, 2015 closed down its operations

It was shocking to see an e-mail on the 3rd Feb stating the 6 year old library is closing down operations with immediate effect. It was a bit shocking but at the same time unfortunate. It's also true that there are lots of similar options available today. When I did some searches around here are some hits.

  1. EasyLib
  2. Doorstepbooks
  3. JustBooks
  4. NOOL
Well there may be more which I may not have explored. Prices of plans are almost similar. But I think the biggest concerns I had with depth of the books. I prefer reading non-fictions and at some point I realise they really do not have that great a catalog. Even if they have you may get them late. But in any case I will still prefer this option over buying books. Actually, typical books one never buys for long term reference. You only read the book once and then it sits in your book rack for display till the content validity expired. This is particularly true with many management books. You realise some real praises on ability for financial sector to securitise the mortgage assets and one bubble burst you realise those theories may not be all relevant in the world of subprime lending. I kind of feel these libraries do a fair share of service there. They reduce the clutter and they create a critical mass of readership for you to know which books to pick up and which are not. However, sometimes when you get the book you realise a lot of water has flown below the bridge. I think that gives me time to identify a book of depth vs. a temporary fad though. 

Now that MyLib and my association for past 4 years is no longer an option which one should I choose. I guess I will wait for sometime. Have got a whole series of John Grisham to finish before I look upto some new texts. It may be worthwhile to give me a library vacation for sometime before I decide on one. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Still Know the Books You Read Two Decades Back

In our childhood, Mir Publishers from Soviet Union provided a great collection of books. With closed controlled economy getting access to high quality books was a rare opportunity. There were hardly any Indian Editions of any of the well known books from USA. Even if there were some they were old editions, were significantly expensive considering the publishers had to share royalty. And worse still a modified Imperial weights and measures that even the British abandoned half a century back. As if that were not enough, printing and paper quality was nothing great to drive home about. Mir publisher books were well printed, content quality was great and had advanced study material ideally suited for the needs of the students preparing for various competitive examinations which demanded a knowledge level much higher than the regularly university / council or board curriculum. And most important was significantly cheaper than the equivalent books by Indian publishers. Only downside, the translation was more of transliteration. More over, for every great discovery in the western world there was a Russian discoverer which you will not find reference anywhere other than in the Mir books. The books were available only in book exhibitions as they never developed a great distributor network. But most serious students will get a copy of the book somehow. At least some will keep a copy of Irodov on their showcase to show how serious is their pursuit in learning physics. But then the worst came. The Union dissolved and in a rational to cut down their expenses they stopped subsidising education in developing economies like India and the Mir Publisher went belly up subsequently.

Couple of days back I was looking for some books which were popular in India in the net and found many books from the Mir Publishers are getting printed and published in India by many of the textbook publishers. They are available online to be ordered from many online retailers like Flipkart, Infibeam etc. I purchased two volumes of Piskunov's Differential and Integral Calculus. Read through them a bit. The print quality is definitely not there. But at least the books have definitely got wealth of knowledge that cannot be questioned. At least some relevant books get published and are getting circulated. That's definitely heartening to know :-).