Print books remain popular in India, say industry insiders, citing library memberships and non-member visitors that have increased significantly since 2011, noting also that about 400 new print books are published the city of Indore each year

, April 28, 2014 () – Indoreans love frequenting libraries to grab a latest bestseller instead of browsing online

"Despite the advent of technology, the footfall of people frequenting libraries has not gone down. One would be surprised to know that after the advent of e-books, there has been a considerable increase in the number of members of public libraries.

In the era of e-books, Indoreans still love frequenting the library to grab a copy of the latest bestseller.

Raveesh Tyagi who is a member of Government Devi Ahilya Central Library for the last eight years, said that the feeling of going through the hard copy of a book and reading it with other fellow readers in the library cannot be compared to that of e-books.

It is not just about the tactile feeling of touching a book or enjoying the feeling of being surrounded by a huge number of books. There is a relation which exists between the avid booklovers and the library. "A reader tends to develop a relation with the library which he cherishes lifelong," added Raveesh while browsing through a book.

The members, who regularly visit the library, said that it provides a very serene environment that completely suits a true book reader. "The environment in the library helps to concentrate besides providing options of different genres of books to the reader," said Shivangi Singh who has recently enrolled as member of Government Devi Ahilya Central Library. After taking the membership, Singh feels that she has developed a reading habit which would definitely help her in the long run. "As I didn't like reading books in the digital format, I joined the library to enjoy reading," she added.

Regional librarian, Government Devi Ahilya Central Library, Dr GD Agrawal, quipped that e-books have failed to make an impact on the libraries as every year, the libraries witness an increase in the number of members.

"In the year 2013, 268 members joined the library which shows that people are still interested in visiting library rather than staring at their gadgets to read e-books," said Agrawal.

In the year 2011, there were a total of 6,004 members in Devi Ahilya Central library which rose to 6,370 in 2012 and in 2013, 268 new members joined it thus taking the total number of members to 6,639.

On an average, around 400 new books are published every year in Indore which further supports the fact that e-books have very little impact on the traditional readership in the libraries. "If there had been a decrease in readership, why would the publishers take the pain to publish large number of books every year," he added.

Another public library of Indore, Mahatma Gandhi Reading room and Library located at Nehru Park too supports the fact that e-books failed to affect the footfalls in the traditional libraries across the city. "The total number of members in the library till now is 6,671 with around 25 new members joining the library every year," said library in-charge of Mahatma Gandhi Reading Room and Library, Sandeep Pataudi.

Around 300 people including both members and non-members visit the library daily to read books, newspapers and magazines. "The readership has not decreased at all as every year around 25 new members get themselves registered in the library," said Sandeep.

Rakesh Sharma, library minister in Dr Sarjuprasad Tiwari library at Madhyabharat Hindi Sahitya Samiti, opines that the administration needs to take some effective steps so as to promote the people to visit libraries.

He added that there has been a surge of around 150 members in 2013 which takes the total number of members to 800 in Dr Sarjuprasad Tiwari library. "With the construction of shopping malls, parks and new colonies, the city has witnessed many development works in the past few years but no new libraries have been established so as to bring more and more people towards it," said Rakesh. "

Credit:Kalyan Das

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