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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Getting Programming/IT Books in Karachi (and Pakistan)

When I tell my folks that I buy books from amazon.com, some of them look very surprised for two reasons: firstly, they are surprised to know that those guys deliver in Pakistan, and secondly, they ask me in wonder, "You spend $30 to $50 for a book?" Well, yes, I do. Most of the books I get from amazon.com are worth more than their cost.

Usually anything related to Computer Science or Logic with more than 4 stars rating is a must have for me. See, for example, My Wishlist on amazon.com. But I do agree that buying this way is not a nice thing to do if I can get the same books from a local vendor, specially considering the low priced Asian editions.

So, I fired up my browser this weekend and thoroughly went through Liberty Books and Paramount Books. By the way, I have never liked the collection at Liberty Books. On the other hand, I was surprised to see that Paramount Books has cataloged their complete collection on the web.

Now, Paramount Books has rented a house near Tariq Road acting as a big bookstore. I went there yesterday and asked if they could arrange books for me. The guy at the reception was happy to oblige. You can also write to them at info AT paramountbooks dot com dot pk if you want some specific book which they don't have; address the email to Mr. Nabeel. I bought the below mentioned books (the table shows the price of the same book at amazon.com, and no, I didn't buy pirated copies):

Price at amazon.comParamount Books
Dynamic Logic (MIT Press)$59Rs. 355
Integration Patterns (Patterns and Practices) (MS Press)$30Rs. 475
Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution (Penguin Books)$12Rs. 395
Unix Application Migration Guide (MS Press)$50Rs. 595

Needless to mention that you get 2 days shipping within Pakistan if you buy from Paramount Books. Shipping within Pakistan is free, and of course, you can visit them yourself as well.

On the programming magazines side, its funny that Liberty Books' website says that they deal in MSDN and Dr. Dobbs Journal. I wrote them a few days back but the response was negative. Paramount Books doesn't deal in magazines.

Apart from these, some booksellers (non-IT specific) are covered here and here. Some libraries are covered here.