This post would try to share some aspects of where we are and where we are going and what/where we could go.
For the past 2-3 years I have been reading more and more about network economics and loving every second of it. While there are some books which every Computer Science student should read (more so in India) . One of them for sure is Chris Anderson’s Long Tail which is a treatise to where things are going. All sort of web marketeers, web designers and anybody who wants to do anything using the web would do well to read it. I am going to use this same book to draw some parallels using stuff from the book as well as the book itself to drive some points across.
First of all let’s see the listing of Long Tail as shown in Amazon and Flipkart, the Indianized version trying to give the same experience.
Now can one see some of the differences. While Amazon gives me also the option of used books at some pretty attractive prices, the same cannot be said of flipkart. In fact, one of the listings of the book is ridiculously priced rather than the Amazonian version.
This also tells that there are huge inefficiencies either within the website or/and within our ecosystem. One of them is being addressed by Capt. Gopinath’s Deccan 360 but surely more competitors and more things are and would be needed to be done.
While that is obvious, I was also stuck by Alibris . I wish somebody could try emulating that in India. In fact using 3g (for flexibility and mobility) go one step further, do a real customer to customer experience so that let’s say I am an Issac Asimov fan and either want to buy some of his older books/used books or want to sell them, in today’s marketplace this is not easily done. If there was an easy to use site I could go to a site, enter the details of the book/author I want/have and see if there is somebody in the near distance who has/wants to do a trade ( a cell no would be good). Have an LBS (location-based service) alongwith 3g would make this seamless experience.
While there are possibilities of crime, there are also possibilities of meeting people who share the same passion for books. A win-win situation and all sorts of events and memorabilia’s trading and exchanging stuff.
While the above doesn’t relate to FOSS in as a language where this could be easily done/programmed and can handle scalability, the idea if implemented properly could enlarge the reading community exponentially democratizing all sorts of trading and books. There are of course contrarian views as put up in this blog post. The author has a book which would be interesting to read providing I can get my hands on it.
There is another part of it as well. India, for good or bad has had a socialist-capitalist history for a long long time. So don’t know how much time it will take when such ideas and implementations would happen in India.
From whatever little I know of the publishing industry in India, this isn’t in the mindspace of the people. Lemme know what you think.