In person, R. Sundar Rajan, Founder of Strata Retail and Technology Services Private Limited, the company behind the Just Books CLC concept/brand, is reticent and prefers to let his work do the talking.
But make no mistake, his calm demeanour hides a razor sharp focus on building the JustBooks CLC brand & scaling it to new heights.
Reproduced below are his email responses to 5 questions.
Q: In this age of book readers & digital libraries, could you let us know the raison d’etre for a physical library such as JustBooks?
Sundar: A Library is probably the oldest real world social networking platform that built a hugely successful collaborative environment around books & reading. At Just Books, relying on certain founding principles of library science, we aspire to be the country’s most comprehensive platform for books with the goal of finding every book a reader and every reader his/her book. eReaders & digital content are great and will enhance the experience of readers and help more people read. Just Books as a platform will be medium agnostic and will participate in getting books & readers together irrespective of (digital or paper) form associated with the content.
Does anyone care for a library any more? Based on feedback from our members, we would like to believe that the answer is Yes. Developed communities – once their basic requirements are taken care – tend to attach more importance to such experiences that add intangible value to one’s quality of life.
Q: Will the USP of ‘Community Library Centers’ be the key differentiator for Just Books?
Sundar: The key differentiator for Just Books is the unlimited collection that a member gets access to – apart from the ease of operation. When a member signs up as a member at one branch – s/he instantly gets access to all our other branches and to all the books in all our branches. As we continue to add more branches & more books, the same membership continues to give them access to incredibly larger collection of books & more number of branches at no additional cost.
Q: Could you explain how technology has been taken advantage of for the concept behind Just Books?
Sundar: Technology will remain a key parameter in the overall architecture of Just Books – given that the success of the model relies on our ability to service a very high number of members ensuring good overall experience with no significant cost overheads. We are just scratching the surface on this with some effective use of RFID as an underlying technology. We intend to do lot more in the coming months. Watch this space.
Q: In your opinion, why should a book lover become a Just Books member?
Sundar: Book lovers are a special breed. They can sniff a good book and find their way to it – no matter how difficult the access is! What we are doing at Just Books is – provide them a much easier way to get to their book. Going forward, we intend to connect readers and provide for lot more interactive reading experience.
Q: On a personal level, what are your favourite authors / books?
Sundar: I read non-fiction more than fiction. I am a dabbler and prefer reading little bit of many books than reading one cover-to-cover. My personal favourite titles in the last couple of years of reading would be – Tipping point, Get Big fast, Small giants & Long tail. I have no one all time personal favourite as an author. For now it is Ramachandra Guha.