Via The Hindu
|Image Source : Mera Library website
Mera Library is home to over 4,000 books in eight Indian languages besides English, written by 2,000 authors through 250 publications. Officially launched in 2011, Shabir says this labour of love has harboured in thought from 2009. As an employee of a large electronic publishing company in Bangalore, Shabir observed that few smaller publishers, especially those in thebhasha (vernacular) languages, put out e-book versions of their publications. And for those who did, avenues for display and distribution were rare.
With Mera Library, publishers enter into a non-exclusive partnership where earnings on books given are split 50 per cent between the two. Scouting for books has been an eye-opening experience says Shabir. They began with acquiring works that had outgrown their copyrights. The Gutenberg project was a huge resource for English books. “Our focus though, was to acquire the classics in regional languages, such as Kumaran Asan’s works, which are difficult to find even in print today.” A daunting task with old works is preserving their frail bodies while converting to e-books. “I remember the entire Boban and Molly cartoon series by V.T. Thomas was almost crumbling in our hands.” Besides publishers, the team has also approached independent authors for their works. For instance, in Kerala, late Ponjikara Rafi’s family gave the e-library his entire works at once, as did Pratham Books with their extensive children’s collection.
Mera Library now possesses over 40,000 works, which will be made available online in phases.
Of all the genres the e-library catalogues, Shabir says traffic has been most in their young-adult and religious reading sections. They have also enjoyed audiences from over 18 countries with the UAE scoring highest among them. Subscribers can access the e-library with an internet connection on a computer or on their Android or Apple devices.