Ek Kitab, an online bookstore with a donor network

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Bangalore: Starting off as Software Engineers with Indian and foreign MNCs in 1986, it has been a long journey for Vijaya Raghavan and Anil Singh as they moved up in their careers over the years with Wipro, IBM, Bell Labs and Aspect Development. Anil’s last corporate assignment was as the VP of Symphony Services while Vijay was the Director of Athena Security Inc. in India. But all along they had a dream and the creation of Ekkitab represents a milestone in the journey towards the fulfilment of this personal dream.

Talking to Kerala IT News, Vijaya Raghavan, Chief Technology Officer, Ekkitab Educational Services said, “It is a desire to be able to contribute to the cause of learning through the creation of an organisation that helps channel educational resources towards those who need them. Ek Kitab is an online bookstore that competes for commercial success while it simultaneously attempts to build a donor network that can successfully transform many lives by channelling resources to the needy”. The name ‘Ekkitab’ stands for ‘one book’. Philosophically, it represents our effort to change the status quo, one book at a time. It also enshrines our goal of trying to put at least one book in the hands of every reader, he adds.

Ekkitab is an attempt to blend everyone’s favourite downtown bookstore with the convenience and capabilities of its more contemporary brethren, the online bookstore. It started with a collection of more than 4 million English books which includes almost 3.5 million imported titles. Indian editions of these imported titles are being added every day so that competitively priced editions are easily available. The goal is to have a book available for purchase or order as soon as it is announced by the publisher. Special thematic collections have been designed that put recommended books on the same theme together for easy browsing.

According to Anil, “Ekkitab will be more than an English language book-store. We want to stock all Indian language books so that we are recognised for our comprehensive stock. We want to make it possible to buy a Malayalam book as easily as an English one irrespective of which part of the world you live in”. Convenience apart, Ekkitab offers some of the best prices on the Internet for books across its entire catalogue. Books will be delivered to the buyer’s doorstep in 3-5 days for editions sourced in India and 2-3 weeks for editions sourced abroad.

But Ekkitab is also much more than a bookstore. The company has a vision to put the right books in the hands of all those who need, but cannot afford them. “Our goal is to harness the Internet and its current users to provide for the education of the countless millions who are invisible”, he adds. As a Co-Founder Director at Ekkitab, Anil provides the vision and operations support.

This is an attempt to create a donor network in books that will persuade people to contribute towards building readership, by asking them to donate books to individuals and organisations that need them. The site will allow less fortunate schools and colleges to put up their wish lists of books they would like to have in their libraries on Ekkitab. Individual students who need specific books for their study will also have an opportunity to announce their need. Visitors to the site who come to browse and buy books can look up these institutions and make a contribution either by buying a book from their wish-lists or by donating the discounts they get for the books they buy for themselves.

Ekkitab thus attempts to combine the achievement of a social goal through the establishment of a successful commercial enterprise. Ekkitab will be soon launching the reselling of e-content.

Vijay, who hails from Palakkad and is now based in Bangalore says, “Our bookstore is just a starting point for generating resources to fuel our efforts. We also hope that we can excite a community to guide and nurture the company towards its goals. We seek out individuals who can help us with technology as well as with optimisations that can make a difference to how we can serve the cause we have set for the company. Ek Kitab’s mission is to enable a billion readers across India. Sooner than later”

Anil Philip
Kerala IT News

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