Gone are the days when libraries and book clubs held stacks of dusty books. The Internet has changed all that. As elsewhere in the world, Bengalureans too are shelving some of their reading traditions and going in for new ones. Online libraries and book clubs are catching on in the city. The young are turning to their computers or phones for reading material, and say it is more natural for them than walking up to a library or book club down the road.
The Facebook group -- 'Broke Bibliophiles - Bangalore Chapter (BBB)-- is a community which meets every month to talk about books. And it has just turned a year old.
Radhika Chauhan, who co-founded it with Abhiram, says, "It's been extremely successful, and we've had the luck of connecting with readers from all walks of life from 18-40. We got to know about so many splendid authors, particularly local ones," she says.
"Digital book clubs allow people to connect and discuss books with no geographical barriers, and there's nothing better than a community that shares the same love of reading as you do," she says.
Members meet once a month over coffee to discuss books they have read. Online book discussions and reviews are also part of the activities. These clubs also serve deals on books available online. So viola, you can browse titles or discuss books while you relax on your couch.
"We started an online group 'The Reading Racoons Library' to introduce children to literature as most parents don't know what they want their children to read," says Tanushree Singh, its founder. She then started the 'Senior Reading Racoons' and the response was tremendous. The community is international. People connect because of the group and take part in activities. Offline, we also have a crowdsourced library," she says.
"Whenever new people come in, they have no idea these books are available on our site. Also, people exchange books offline. There are also activities people take up by themselves. The digital revolution has made all this possible,'' she says.
Online book clubs bring people together, and help them form and express opinions. "In a world obsessed with instant social media gratification, it is refreshing to have a community which likes to sit back and read. Needless to say, it has developed into a family, and ironically enough, it is one brought together by the digital revolution," Radhika adds.
How they work
Broke Bibliophiles Bangalore:
You become a member by joining their Facebook group. They usually plan the meet-ups on either the second or third weekend of every month. Once the date, venue and time is decided, they create an event on the page and share details.
Senior Reading Raccoons:
You send a request and answer questions about yourself and your preferences.