SALEEM HUSSAIN is
the CEO of Liberty Books. He has been part of Liberty Books since its
inception. Being a family business, Hussain took over the bookstore
legacy from his father and today, the Liberty Books stores stand as one
of the prestigious bookstores in the country. Hussain is passionate
about books and the reading habit. The aim of Liberty Books is to
inculcate and develop the reading habit — something that has been
adversely affected with the advent of the electronic media and the
Internet. Starting from a small store on M.A. Jinnah Road, Liberty Books
outlets are now located across the
city. The stores have been renowned to carry an extensive variety of
books on all subjects.
How did Liberty Books come into being?
Books has been in the business for well over three decades, evolving
from a humble beginning on a street off M.A. Jinnah Road to a household
name in Karachi having a retail presence with 10 stores covering all
major shopping malls and leading five star hotels. Liberty Books
primarily gained recognition due to being the exclusive distributor of a
wide range of magazine subscriptions which cover some of the leading
international magazines such as Newsweek, The Economist, Readers Digest
and National Geographic amongst hundreds others. Beyond Karachi,
Liberty's online business has worked as the virtual store since year
2000 when the website first went up. In this short span of time
libertybooks.com has generated an online business which is more than any
other online business in the country. We have ensured that the website
is user-friendly and navigation and searching for books and magazines is
Are there any other local online book stores?
there some publishers as well as a few shopping sites that are offering
online book sales in the country, libertybooks.com has the distinction
of being the first and the best website that features a vast choice of
books and leading international magazines that can be purchased online
in Pak Rupees.
What led Liberty Books to form an online bookstore?
the company had been toying with the idea of having a web presence for a
while. The success of amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com were good enough
motivating reasons to explore this business platform in the Pakistan.
For Liberty Books the online presence was a window of opportunity. The
company believed from the outset that it had a commodity which is
perhaps the most favorite product sold and bought online throughout the
world, namely, books & magazines. Libertybooks.com sells more books
online than any other website in the country. With daily updates, online
discounts and offers, there are over 200 magazines subscriptions and
about 3,000 book titles available at any given time.
was the online store established?
the website went up in the year 2000, the facility of online payment in
Pak Rupees was introduced in October last year in association with
Citibank. Online shopping is still a relatively novel concept in
Pakistan. Many shoppers are wary of buying online. But the word is
slowly traveling about 100% secured websites and also about local
currency transactions — such as the Liberty Books site. On
www.libertybooks.com the company works with Citibank utilizing its
online payment infrastructure which is as safe as using a credit card at
your local grocery store.
much business does the website generate?
business currently forms a very small portion of the total business
volume of Liberty Books. We are very satisfied with the growth in the
customer and shopper traffic on our website. Online shopping is a
concept that is still new in Pakistan but we have been witnessing
interesting trends. Majority of online sales (in Pak Rupees) come from
cities outside Karachi as Liberty Books is currently primarily a
Karachi-based retail network of book stores. We find it very encouraging
as we can now reach other cities online and don't have to make colossal
investments to set up retail stores. Moreover, in order to encourage our
online customers we undertake periodic campaigns where extensive
discounts are extended. As a standard practice libertybooks.com offers
free delivery anywhere in Pakistan for books and magazines ordered
online. The website has also introduced pre-ordering facility which is
not available at its retail stores at this stage but only offered
Liberty Books plan to explore other avenues to promote book reading?
response has been tremendous and the company plans to keep introducing
interesting and economical propositions for its fast increasing online
and store level customer base. Our aim is to make reading the good habit
that it deserves to be and we hope to introduce platforms in the future
that will facilitate such developments.