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Something First

By RK Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

Remember “Books on Demand” -- the online book selling service which was started here. The link “Books” used to hover at the header as well as at the bottom here.

Good part of this service was that I fulfilled few of the orders that came from the regular readers and writers. I feel good that I availed books that were not available in their area.

It's services were offered to length and breadth of the country from Kerala to Meghalaya. Ordered books were sent to possibly each and every state of India.

Why I am writing about this service which is defunct?

#1. Like any “first”, it was my ‘first’ foray into the arena of e-commerce.
#2. If I don’t jot it down fast the experiences I had running this service, I fear, I will not be able to recollect and experience it later, in my later adventures.
#3. I will miss its case study later, though micro was its scale and operation.

What were the challenges?

Books On Demand had hell lot of challenges – some imaginary and some technical.

#1. Marketing

The very term ‘marketing’ was blurring my mind as if I don’t know the meaning of the word. What I did – I shifted its meaning to “visibility”. Voila! The whole landscape of Internet came visible in front of my eyes. I came to know where my clients are.

The next question was -- How to reach them? I can’t wage a full throttle war (web marketing) on a non-existent budget. So, I had to resort to guerilla marketing --- attack and leave the message without leaving any sign.

The guerilla marketing was carried out not more than a week, and I started getting results…orders after orders…Mission accomplished!

#2. Price

The prices of the books were exorbitant, adding list price plus courier, plus commission of Rs 50 (A book of Rs 100 used to cost Rs 250 and more). I was thinking people are rational while buying things, especially if it is related to books. But the notion was broken with the flurry of orders. The very thought changed --People were ready to buy at any costs. Exceptions are there.

#3. URL

I was bit perturbed with the url of the Books on Demand (booksondemand.bishnupriyamanipuri.com) – too long and being associated with the name of the community.

I remember a customer was literally pronouncing the whole URL (bish—nu—priya—ma---ni—pu—ri—dot--com). :)

Though I didn’t face any problem with the customers regarding the URL, but it was bit difficult to market the brand amongst Delhi book publishers. A lesson learnt (without any upfront cost.)

Reminiscent

I have lot of nice remembrances associated with this service. First, readers and writers of the blogsite were able to contact me regarding their necessities. That I always long for. Thanks, again.

Though the service was very mechanical, it had a lot of memorable clients’ interactions. One was V. Poli Naidu from Meghalaya, he rang only to give me the message that he has received the books. Another one was Harsh Suman, he was so happy receiving the books at the eleventh hour of his board exam that his mother showered on me lot of blessings.

Before Leaving

Read #2 Why I am writing

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