The Haja Sheriff Blog

Re-ignite the desire to read – Join a library- Review of Just Books, Bangalore

Posted by in Bangalore, Books, Personal Effectiveness



Just Books is a recent addition to Bangalore.  Very few people I know (and that includes me), really know where the book library in Bangalore is.  In fact the most common and desired libraries here are the Video libraries :).

Recently I saw an article on Just Books and a few days later, saw one of its outlets on my way to office. 

A few weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to have one open near our residence. And I did the next best thing-  I joined this Library yesterday.  After Singapore, where the Libraries are super efficient,and the art of reading is actively encouraged by the Government, I was missing the same concept here.

With a great collection of books, I have managed to get my children & my nephew into the reading habit.  Hopefully this will help to wean them away from the idiot box! If you are in Bangalore, then you may want to check out this website ( & join them as well.  Worth the money you are investing.

That also made me think – for a library in India, which needs to survive & grow in the Indian market- how does one go about building the base?  Here are some thoughts that came to mind & something that I will share with them when I meet them next –

  • Awareness campaign
  • Create a value-based campaign – not just a “join the library” but a “Why you should join us”.
  • Not a burst promo- but a clear message on what “value” this library is going to highlight – a series of promo’s – build a mailing list & correspond with them.
  • Talk about new books – and lead them to the library
  • Get some authors to visit & talk
  • Put some video programs to highlight specific books
  • Messaging based on needs
    • In India, this is the month when the children are in the midst of their annual vacations.  Read that as most parents tearing their hair out trying to figure out how to keep their children occupied. Build a opportunity and attract more people using this. Example- “Teach your child the value of reading a book” OR “Teach your child to “Speed Read” and read more books & build their knowledge” .
  • Create regular “events” where you get the target audience together
    • Children and youth – and how to get them to be better at what they do – and set a timetable for weekly visits. Charge those who are not members. Or actively invite members & their friends.
  • Incentives to join the library
    • Members bring more members and get rewarded.
  • Recommendations of books & a process
    • Easy process for users to recommend books & a process to turn this around
    • Recommendations on books
    • New book summaries for users to browse through
  • Online tools to select books & in-store tools to support the same
  • Check out books & returning books to be a super easy and timeless process. (The Singapore libraries have made this to an art form- drop in to a Singapore community centre library the next time you are there to really experience this).
  • In general, the experience at Just Books was very good. They are sitting on a huge opportunity –and if they are able to get people to join or experience the visit to the library, they could turn this into the next big thing in India. Kudos to the owners who have created this unique idea into a business opportunity! Hope some of these tips help 🙂

    Check them out.


    iPad Vs. Netbooks – Emerging trends

    Posted by in Apple, Business, HP, iPad, Netbook, Technology


    Recently I had written an article on iPads Vs. Netbooks.

    During a trip to Singapore since then, I had the opportunity to actually see an iPad.

    I stand corrected in my note- because I think it is unfair to compare it with the Netbooks. 

    The packaging & the product positioning does not actually do it justice to compare it with Netbooks.  I think it a very unique positioning that Apple is pushing for the iPad.

    That said, a huge number of iPads have been sold in the first 3 weeks since launch. I believe, the product still has some time to go before it gets ready for the broader market. Like I said in my earlier post, it will version 2 or 3, which will shake the market – if there was not competition.  Unlike the iPod, this time round, the HP Slate and other similar products are bound the hit the market before that- which will give a much better user interface & features, which the iPad lacks in its current avatar.

    A recent article in Businessweek by Rich Jaroslovsky – Diary of an iPad Man is a great article that highlights some of the shortcomings (and positives) of iPad

    • Sunlight – usage outdoors is a challenge
    • Using a Word processor was difficult
    • Data entry into a spreadsheet was very cumbersome

    What worked well were –

    • Kindle books were apparently good
    • Battery life is good

    All said and done, I think, this is a product that has created a new market segment- just like the Netbook did 3 years ago! The iPad will spawn a number of products that will address a new way of using these Computing devices, and that is the value that Apple has created.

    That said, will it be the leader? Possibly not- because with the HP Slate & the other products from Acer, Lenovo, Dell etc round the corner, it will not be that easy to corner the market share.   But Apple will make changes, and bring out features that will make the product unique in the coming quarters. 

    Indeed a good time for us consumers.

    For now, I will stay with the Intel, Windows platform and await the launch of the HP Slate!