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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Friday 25 May 2012

Your Search for A Good Book Ends Here

It is raining here in India - a cloudburst of books and best-sellers at bargain offers! Book lovers have never had it so good. If you want a share of it, don't sit and gaze. As Dolly Parton said: 'To catch the rainbow, you gotta get wet in the rain!'

I am talking about online shopping sites, some of which are 'push-selling' books in a big way. The discounts offered are hefty, sometimes as much as 50 percent! You can use credit cards, net banking or even opt for COD (Cash on Delivery) to pay up. The books are couriered within 4 to 5 days of your order. Experience how easy, inexpensive and convenient it is to 'shop from the comfort of your home'!
The spurt in choice however throws up a few challenges too! Which books do we buy, from where, and at what price? A search brings up hundreds of recommendations, reviews and offers. Not only daunting, but also confusing!  Hence, after several trials and errors, I devised a fool-proof method. Let me share it here. 
1.  Search
Buying a book is easy, but buying a good book isn't. The key is knowing about the current trends and tastes. Here are two sites to begin with:
Unarguably, the most authentic and comprehensive source. It will help you graduate from being a random to a planned reader.

Good Reads

Awesome site. You are in the company of readers, writers, reviewers, critics and book lovers. If you have been neglecting reading, GoodReads is the place where you can 'kick-start' that habit again!
2.  Assess
Once you catch up with the latest, the next step is to zero
in on the book that you must read. For tips on this, check out these two sites:

Enter a title or author. The site will come up with reader recommendations from its huge database.  Click on, to know more about your choice.

Here, you not only get information on any book of your choice, but also get to read its preview. A must for anyone waiting to begin his next read.

3.  Checkout
The last step before you purchase. Visit one of the following sites and enter the name of the book that you wish to buy. Within seconds, the sites will show up a list of online portals where the book is available, with their offer prices and mode of payment.

4.  Purchase
For the sake of brevity, I am limiting my recommendations to just two of the numerous online shopping sites. I have tried out and found them to be reliable and satisfactory.
I don't know why I didn't try out Flipcart earlier. When it finally happened, I was pleasantly surprised.  And here they are right at the top of my recommendations.      
My favourite. Huge collection of books; attractive discounts; prompt execution. If your book is stocked out, enable the SMS/Email alert.
Great site. A welcome feature here, is the multilevel reward points that you can earn and redeem as you purchase.

5.  Save More
If you are happy buying used books, here is a site. Try out any title; you will get to know about the condition of the book and the discount offered. In select locations, you can also use their library facility. My favourite.

6.  Not Yet Over
After reading, if you want to dispose of the book, there are a few sites, where you can list your books for free, wait for a prospective buyer to turn up, and close the deal directly. The sites generally do not charge you for for this service. Search for more info.
That is it. I have shown you the way to discover, procure, and read good books. Happy reading

"You never know which book, at which time in your life might be the one
that inspires you to grow in many ways you thought was never possible."
-  Burke Hedges

The websites referred above are based on personal experience and are solely indicative of the growing online shopping opportunities in India. A missing reference does not in anyway imply a rating of a particular site's status, reputation or reliability.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Prince of Persia and The Angry Birds

Finland: the world's biggest cruise ships are built here. It is home to Wartsila, Kone and Nokia. In summer, a quarter of the country basks in sunshine for 73 consecutive days and misses it for 51 days in winter. It is the land of 'a thousand islands and a hundred thousand lakes'. From this great country, comes yet another surprise! 'Angry Birds', a video game conceived by Rovio Mobile Inc. in collaboration with NASA.

Launched on 22 March 2012, the game has already crossed one billion downloads, rewriting the success story of the harbinger of all video games: the 'Prince of Persia', which was a rage among office-goers, twenty years back. Every one, from the boss to the office assistant knew that fingers were moving 'stealthily' to help a valiant hero save a damsel in distress. Neither a 286 PC with monochrome monitor nor the 'timid' animation technique of those days mattered much.

The euphoria created by Jordan Mechner just refused to fade away. A 3D format of the game appeared ten years after its launch. In 2003, another enriched version hit the market. Walt Disney Pictures even made a film on the theme. Today, 'Prince of Persia' can be played on iPhone, iPad and the Xbox 360.

The most striking thing was the eagerness, the game aroused in the players to impress. Most of them could not go beyond the fifth or sixth level. Hence, any claim to the climax sounded mysterious. The secret soon spilled out. It was a simple cheat code that let you play in a level of your choice. With that, like the fizz that pops out of a soda bottle, the game lost all its thrill.

Let us hope 'Angry Birds' does not fly away the same way.