Buy books in India online

My sister recently started a blog, and I wanted to gift her a book on writing – Elements of Style. I have read this myself, and find it to be an excellent resource for anyone interested in improving their writing skills. I wondered how I could buy books in India online because I have never done this earlier, and this post is a summary of results I found.

There are several websites that sells books online in India, and the point of this post is to tell you where you can buy books online in India, and I will list down the options I came across.

First, Amazon sells this book for $7.95, which is ~Rs.350, so that is the reference price as I start my hunt. Let’s see if I get something close to that price or not.

Buy books in India online

1. Rediff Books: The first site I discovered was Rediff Books. I was able to find this book easily on this site, and there were three different options of these. The top result was the hardcover, which was priced at Rs.2,831, which is clearly way outside the range I am looking at. They have paperback editions as well, some of which are imported, and priced at a very reasonable Rs. 191 too; only problem – they will take 45 business days to ship! No, I did not make a typo – it really says 45 business days to ship!

Since this is a family blog – I will not get into what I feel about 45 business days to ship, and move to the third option. The third option was also a paperback edition, priced at Rs. 499, but it will ship at a more reasonable 4 business days. So far, this is the most reasonable option I see. But, I am not entirely satisfied, so I will try and hunt some more sites.

2. NBC India: Next, I went to the site of NBC India, and found the book there too. They had a list price on the paperback edition of Rs.366, and the picture of the book was exactly like the one I have. The price and picture pleased me quite a bit, but the results page didn’t show me the shipping days. I added it to the cart and went as far as payment options, but it didn’t show me how long it will take to ship, which is quite ridiculous. So, I dropped this option, and went off in search of another website.

3. India Plaza: India Plaza was the next website I saw, and this book was listed at Rs.149 there. That particular edition was Trade Paper, which sounded like a slightly inferior version of a Paperback. This one shipped in 16 business days, and that didn’t fit the bill for me. They had paperback editions listed for Rs. 582, but that also shipped in 16 business days. There was an illustrated version for Rs. 718 that shipped in 3 days.

So far, Rediff Books is looking like the best option.

4. Flip Kart: I have heard of Flip Kart before, but never actually used it. They had this book listed at Rs. 175, and they say it will ship in 4 – 6 business days. This is a paperback edition that was printed in 2006, and this option looks quite promising.

5. Penguin Books: Penguin Books also have a website that looked promising to me, but it turned out to be hopeless. I tried searching the book in their Search box, but it told me that I had to use a category first. Then I chose the category as “Title”, and it told me that it couldn’t find a result. They have a long way to go in terms of selling books online, and I’d be surprised if they are currently doing well in this space.

6. eBay India: eBay India also has this book listed for Rs. 653 in the buy now option. This is clearly higher than the two good options I already have, so I am not going to explore this any further.

7. A1 Books: I found this book in another lesser known website – A1 Books, which has this priced for Rs. 449, and ships it within 4 days. This looks like a decent option, but I clearly have better options at this point in time.

8. I just realized that I didn’t mention that also ships books to India. They charge $4.99 to ship, and say that it can take anywhere from 18 to 31 business days.

After going through all these options, I felt that the Flip Kart option is the best one, and went ahead and ordered the book. I hope it reaches within the stated time, and is in good condition. If something is amiss, then I will update this post with that info as well.

Doing this kind of side by side comparison helped me quite a bit, and I know that in future I will only have to look at two or three websites to find out the best option. I hope you find this research useful too, and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts about buying books in India online. Has anyone done this before, and what has your experience been?

Image by ShironekoEuro

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