Just Read, a network of libraries, has set up an outlet in our office campus. They have several schemes for membership and book hiring on offer. There are periodic membership fees and apart from that, the reader has to pay a deposit which is returnable. I am not fond of libraries because, being a slow reader, I fail to finish a book within the permitted time and attract late fees. With Just Read, I don’t have to do that. The reader can keep a book for as long as he/she wants. The deposit protects the library against unreturned books.
I was not so impressed with their collection. They mostly have American best sellers for fiction. There are no Amitava Ghoshs, Naipauls, Rushdis, RK Narayans etc. Nor did I find a section dedicated to classics. The non-fiction collection is also limited. The grand old man of Indian English writing – Kushwant Singh – looked at me from several book covers, but the books were only his non-fiction ones.
My colleague, reluctant to betray his ignorance about books, walked to the shelf dedicated to management books. Holding a book in hand – something like 10 Points on Success – he said, “It’s simply best.” Which means the book is so good that its superlative merit is beyond any shred of doubt. The book jacket didn’t look so promising at least.
The problem with Just Read is its lack of space. The outlet occupies a slim slice of space with just three rows. With so little space you can’t house a sizable body of collection; you have to keep small measures of many types. And that’s what you get there.
I don’t know how big their other shops are, though.
I like the concept of chain libraries; I didn't know they existed. You get to read books without having to pay too much for them and without the books eating into your living space.