Pustak: Online bargain book store – primarily for International editions !


Online shopping is yet to take off in India but with the increasing Internet reach and scarce parking space, I bet it would soon see a revolution. Until now, for lack of better options I take a list of books to either Landmark or Sapna Book House, park my car, go inside and give the list to the guy at the counter. He checks the whole list and comes back with only 2 books. I have to pay the full price for the books, 30 rupees for car parking and close to 80 rupees for the fuel. That is 110 additional expenses. I am not trying to make a case here for e-commerce. That is as old as the Internet and it would be foolish on my part to give a e-commerce 101 here. My point is why go through all the trouble when you can get it at the click of the mouse. I might have saved 150 rupees at least on the transaction.

Other thing is the disappointment factor. I am a book geek and feel like a little kid in a candy store once I am in a book store. I feel like a kid who has denied candy if I don’t find a book. What if I were to say that I don’t have to go through all the trouble and feel disappointed sitting at home and saving few bucks along the way. That’s what Pustak offered me. A choice. A great one at that !

Okay, before I start, let me tell Pustak founders – I am sure you can have a better designed site. This really looks like a site of Web 1.0 era ! Also, the logo image quality- It is plain bad.

Pustak Logo

With 12 million titles, Pustak is the largest collection in India. Best of all you can see a price difference any where between 30% to 50% (sometimes it can go up to 100%). Pustak is based out of Bangalore and comes from a Amazon alumni, Anand Rao. The shipping time is little long (4-6 weeks) which is understandable given the fact that the books are sourced directly from US. Since the sourcing process is streamlined, Pustak is able to give something back to the customer. Given the low prices and the convenience of Internet the shipping times would be a small price to pay.

A book not being available in India because its published elsewhere is not a hindrance anymore.

99% of happiness for humans comes from comparing with others. — unknown

I am human, geek, penny pincher and most of all an Indian :). That gives me the right to compare. So like every one else I have compared a list of international sellers with other sites.  I took flipkart as the benchmark as it is a much older startup than Pustak. Here is what I found.

Book Name Pustak Flipkart
Bit Literacy 671 1088
How to Make Millions with Your Ideas 687 701
Business: The Ultimate Resource 1113 2966
A Bull in China 953 1009
When Markets Collide 978 1302

Do you see the glaring difference between the prices? That is for international sellers. Other thing to note is the search results for the book. Pustak’s search is pretty smart. ‘If you don’t know the answer say so’. Instead of throwing some relevant but not exact results it says there are no results. I like that. May be because I know what I am looking for.

Pustak is riding on the following factors :

  • Smart search capabilities
  • 12 million copies
  • guaranteed bargains

International sellers alone will not satiate my appetite. I need some desi mix. So, I did one more search for Indian books and the results are not promising when compared with Flipkart. Indiaplaza is offering the lowest rates of the three, but that’s another story.

Book Name Pustak Flipkart
Imagining India N/A 559
White Tiger 669 336
Bangalore Tiger 664 283
My Country My Life 2595 536

If Pustak can tie up with the local publishers and provide Indian books at MRP or less than that, it might just have a winning formula.

Go check Pustak and let us know what you think about it.

  1. goldsilver says

    ricing includes book production, order management, fulfillment and customer service. You choose the retail price and earn the difference between the retail price and our base price.

  2. Raj Sethi says

    Vanishbooks.com a very good and resonable book store. They give discount have free shipping and a huge data base. You should see their collection of fiction. Great going guys

  3. Nishit says

    Thx a million for this post. I had placed an order for the book Inside’s steve’s brain which costs 1200 on flipkart and just Rs. 517 @ Pustak incuding shipping 700 bucks less..dats a HUGE saving. I’ll cancel my order rt away and place it @ Pustak..don’t mind waiting for 4-6 weeks :)

  4. Sachin Oswal says

    If you are looking for competitive pricing on the most popular books, check out Infibeam.com. Their UI is really cool, details awesome and collection huge. Here’s a comparison of above books that you mentioned.

    Book Name Infibeam Pustak Flipkart
    Bit Literacy 1050 671 1088
    How to Make Millions with Your Ideas 679 687 701
    Business: The Ultimate Resource 2231 1113 2966
    A Bull in China 696 953 1009
    When Markets Collide 1362 978 1302
    Imagining India 559 N/A 559
    White Tiger 395 669 336
    Bangalore Tiger 276 664 283
    My Country My Life 595 2595 536

  5. Raseel says

    I completely agree with both your points , viz., the prices are really low at Pustak as compared to any other online store and, the site could be made better.
    In fact, following this post, I immediately ended up making a purchase as well :-) (and something tell me, there will be more… a LOT more).

    I was so happy with the prices that I not only Tweeted about it, I’m also going to blog about it.

    Thanks for the link.

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