Friday, June 22, 2012

Lending Library

A library lends books.

What then is a lending library? A lending library lends books charging a fee to keep the book
with us for a given number of days.

The Easwari Lending Library in its website says that it was started in the year 1955. Actually
it started of as a shop collecting waste paper and the like.

It was my friend Ambi (Sundaram) who was one among the very first customers and who paved
the way for it to become a lending library. His father was a voracious reader of western fiction. So
I used to go along with my pal Ambi and pick up two or three books at a time for his father to read.

How are you sure that your father has not read this book, I would sometimes ask him. Neither am I
sure nor my father would be, he would reply! My friend's father Shri V.S. Mani Iyer, besides
reading a book used to relax in his easy-chair and munch his betel and tobacco.

Easwari thus became one of the pioneers in the lending library. Though Palani himself could not
read a English fiction book, he could pick up any title or show you where books of your favorite
author was.

During my school final, my friend Ravi introduced me to James Hadley Chase and I used to
read one book every day, borrowing it from Easwari. I borrowed the Jeeves series.

Kids borrowed Enid Blyton and the women, Mills and Boon.

Palani's two sons have developed the business well. They have a decent website:

Of late I find a lot of venture capital pumped into this business. Though I wish them well, I am doubtful
of their business model (one even released a full page ad in the newspaper)and whether they will be able to turn out a profit.

What do you want to do when you grow old? As a young lad, I often dreamt of owning a lending library!!
And the other two businesses: Printing Press and Stationery shop.

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