LeBooks to revolutionize the way books are sold online in India
Many of the great businesses that exist today were formed because their founders were passionate about the subject, and felt that available facilities or businesses did not satisfy all requirements of a demanding customer.
Yahoo.com came into being when Jerry Yang and David Filo felt the need for a directory of websites so that it becomes relatively simpler for users to locate some specific site. Google was founded when Larry Page and Sergey Brin felt the need for a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce better ranking of results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Dell Inc was formed when, while in his college, Michael Dell felt that by selling personal computer-systems directly to customers, PC producers could better understand customers' needs and provide the most effective computing solutions to meet those needs.
Besides being founded by users to address some need, what is notable about all these businesses is that at the time of their formation, there were other players who were considered to be dominant in the market. People were simply scared to take on these dominant players. These entrepreneurs believed in their idea and went ahead despite odds being heavily stacked against them, and look where they all are today.
It is thus with similar expectations that I notice the launch of www.Lebooks.in – an online book retailing portal.
The site has been launched by two school friends – Vikas and Rajat, who also graduated from (different) IIMs this year. Both of them chose to forgo jobs with plum salaries that they had landed up with at campus, and instead went ahead with this venture. This alone shows the risk they are willing to take and the confidence they have in their idea.
Learning about the profile of its founders, I decided to try and find out for myself whether this site is any different from numerous other book retailing web sites that I have come to detest. And this is what I learned:
Initially, with my limited knowledge and understanding of foreign languages, I confused name of the site ‘LeBooks’ with the Hindi word “Le” for ‘take’ books, thus making it a hilarious case – Le Le Books, La De Books and so on. J
In reality, the name LeBooks, is a combination of two words – ‘Le’ meaning ‘The’ in French, and English word ‘Books’ – symbolically The place for Books.
To my delight, I have come to realize that the site addresses many of the problems which were not addressed elsewhere. First and foremost I liked the level of transparency offered by the site. They claim that if due to some error, price for a book displayed on the site is higher than MRP, they refund the difference upfront, without user having to put up a request for refund. On the other hand, if the price displayed is lower than actual MRP, they don’t charge extra! (The price differential did not happen in the case of books that I had ordered, but am sure they would’ve walked the talk.)
Has anyone of you ever had to wait for several days to receive their order, before they were informed that the book is not available and that their money is being refunded, which again takes few days time? This has happened to me several times while shopping for books online, though on a different site. Such instances occur when the site chooses to wait for few days, hoping that the book will become available, and informs you about unavailability of the title only after several days.
I was thus pleasantly surprised when, for one of the titles I ordered, instead of choosing to wait for few days hoping that the title will become available, they informed me upfront that the title was not available with their suppliers. This saved a lot of time for me, as I was now free to look for that title else where, or pick up some other title instead.
But the best part about LeBooks was the way they let visitors browse. It is much like browsing in a store. I found that at this site, if you are a book lover and you want to focus on a particular genre, it is very easy to do so. They have and are in the process of classifying all books in fiction, non-fiction and academic segments along with the search results.
Simply put, it works something like this: if you are fiction lover, it is a lot easier for you to stay focused on fiction books at this site. I ran a search for Isaac Asimov who has written both fiction and non-fiction. Searching for him on most sites gives me non-fiction scattered here and there amongst fiction results. This did not happen here. They were clearly segregated under fiction and non-fiction search results.
Vikas and Rajat are also maintaining a LeBooks blog at http://blog.lebooks.in where they intend to keep their users updated about new features and other facts and tid-bits about the site.
It would be interesting to see what other ideas they come up with, though they already have won me as a loyal customer with their existing bouquet of features!
I, and I am sure Vikas and Rajat too, will love to hear your online shopping experience, especially if you have visited Lebooks.in, then do feel free to share your feedback.