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Bookelphia – a crowd sourced book reading platform

Dear RHs

A warm hello to all of you!

I wish to take this opportunity to introduce my venture to you all and seek your inputs (and support) for my idea and venture.

I quit my job last year to be an entrepreneur. After running a pilot phase for 6 months within my circle of friends and acquaintances, I launched Bookelphia.

What is Bookelphia?

·  Well, Bookelphia is a crowd sourced reading platform creating a network of reading enthusiasts. We deal in physical books only.

How do we operate?

  • Members list their books which they are willing to share in the network on Bookelphia. In return, they get access to the collection of books shared by other members, along with the books owned by Bookelphia.
  • A book is borrowed from the owner member when there is a request for it and returned back to the owner once the borrower-reader has read it.

What is our value addition?

  • We make reading recommendations to our members based on their favourite genre(s), author(s), reading history, interests, etc. We even make recommendations for their kids, parents and other family members based on their request.
  • We manage all the logistics involved. The books are delivered to, and picked up from, your residence/ office by a Bookelphia team trained specifically for handling books.
  • Members get credit points for sharing books within the network. They may use the credit points for reading books for free.
  • We make all possible efforts towards ensuring that the books in the network are handled with care and maintained well.
  • There are some more ideas on our mind. We are still developing the operating model around them.

Where are we now?

  • We are operational in Mumbai and its suburbs.
  • Presently, we have collection of books in English, Hindi and Marathi, and a special section for kids and young adults.

How would we make money?

  • We have adopted a “Pay Per Read” pricing according to which you pay only when you read. No other charges, no security, nothing. Currently, we charge Rs 100 for general books and Rs 50 for kids books including the cost of home delivery and pick-up.

What is in it for a member?

    • Physical books in hand
    • Personalized book recommendations
    • Books delivered and picked up from home or office
    • Saves moneySaves time in selecting books or going to buy books

      • Don’t need to buy every book you want to read
      • Pay only when you are reading; no fixed plans

  • Earn credit points when book is borrowed by the network

What support do I seek from RH’s?

Well, a lot 🙂 

We need members. Please suggest inexpensive ways to reach people who like reading books.

Do check out the website, join us if you read books 🙂 and more importantly share your feedback/ suggestions on the business model. The link is www.bookelphia.com

(It is the beta version currently and not friendly with tab or mobile, so please bear with the inconvenience. The actual website is under development and will be up shortly)

We are already active on Facebook. Do visit the page at www.facebook.com/bookelphia and like us.

Our twitter handle is @bookelphia

Thanks

Reetu

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12 Comments

  1. hey reetu,

    anything to do with books (physical) excites me!!

    i will go through your site later on for sure and give you more feedback.

    can you pls email me your addy? i have extra copies of one of my sister’s books and would love to ship you one for your readers!

    good luck!!

  2. Hii Asha

    Thank you so much! Would love to get your feedback on my venture. 

    Mailing you my address…must say, it’s a good start 🙂

    Thanks!!

    Reetu

  3. Hey Reetu, It’s a great idea, in fact, I have been toying with the same idea for a long time now. Just a quick question. 

    How are you managing Logistics and costs ? For ex: I am taking 1 book to read, which is uploaded by Asha on the portal. So, you will first pick it from Asha and then deliver it to me ? And will only charge 100 to me? How much will Asha get? And how will you manage logistics with 100 rupee only ? 

    Other than that, I suggest an APP rather than a website, cos, it’s handy and easy. 

  4. Hi Kamal

    Good to hear that you too have been thinking along same lines…strengthens one’s belief in the idea 🙂

    You are right on the money…logistics cost recovery is one of the big challenges for me. In your example, in Rs 100, I have to pick up the book from Asha, give to you and then manage the reverse logistics. 

    In addition, Asha will get credit points when her book is borrowed. On lending three books she will get one free read from Bookelphia. 

    Although I have received encouraging feedback from my existing members, this model will become sustainable only with big membership numbers. I think, the model can be scaled up to that size and I am putting in efforts towards the same. Hence requesting fellow RHs to suggest inexpensive ways of finding book lovers and spreading the word 🙂

    As you have also highlighted an APP may be useful and I have been contemplating on the same. However have kept it on the back burner for two reasons –

    One, I personally feel there is some app-fatigue setting in, especially for a purpose like reading which most people use only a few times a month. And two, developing a good app is expensive. 

    For these two reasons, I am still to decide on the app.

    Thanks for your inputs!

    Reetu

  5. Hi Reetu,

    Its great to know your venture.. 

    I have been taking Reading workshops and have a dream to create a space where people can come and read… 

    I am not sure how feasible it is to have a drop down menu to select books and order it online only instead of sending mail or using whatsapp… i feel it would be quick to use it that way… 

    I have already joined and shall be sharing books soon.. Wish you all the Best …

    Warm Regards,

    Anandi

     

  6. Hi Reetu,

    It’s a unique one 🙂

    Just a suggestion, allow users to sign up from homepage itself also work on UX part.

    Best of luck for your Startup

  7. Hi Reetu,

    I love books, I like books, I love reading and all are cool phrases. I am also into reading and writing fiction but more than all these reasons, do you know why I love your idea and this reason you MUST MUST include on your site and app – it is in favor of environment!! Yes, if I borrow a book instead of purchasing, I am saving a tree and my money of course. So it is not just economical but environmental as well which makes this idea awesome!

    I wish you all the very best for this idea and hope you are able to have as much people on board as possible.

    About me, I have been reading PDFs instead since I am against using much paper or plastics due to the same reasons but book sharing idea seems cool and I might have couple to share.

    Keep us updating about your venture how it is moving forward and let me know if I could be of any help 🙂

    Cheers!

  8. Hi Anandi

    Thanks for your wishes and happy to have you as part of Bookelphia. Great to connect with someone having a common interest.

    As I have mentioned in my post, our website is under development. The soon-to-be-live version of the website will have a search mechanism wherein members will be able to find, select and order books online. Like you said, even I believe that it would be quick and easy to use. 

    Till then please feel free to ask through sms/ whatsapp/ mail for more and more books 🙂

    Regards

    Reetu

  9. Hi Mohammed

    Thanks for writing!

    As mentioned in my post, we are working on design of the new website. Will consider your valuable inputs there. In the meanwhile please do consider joining us 🙂

    Regards

    Reetu

  10. Hi Pankaj

    Thanks for writing. Good to know about you.

    Of course, this model is both economical for users and good for environment. We will add these as key features of our model in the new website that is under development.

    If you are based in Mumbai please consider joining us and experience reading through us 🙂

    Regards

    Reetu

  11. Hi Reetu,

    Glad to hear of your venture. I’m an avid reader who clings to physical books despite Kindle, pdf, epub, etc. so I’m enthusiastic about ventures like yours.

    Though you are up against big players like JustBooks, since you are not storing books in a physical location you’ll save on rentals / real estate costs.

    To avoid logistics cost, I’d suggest you build nice neighbourhood professional clans who can meet directly and exchange books face to face instead through a courier. Readers like to network with other readers and discuss a book over coffee or a drink.
    For example doctors, investors, writers, creative professionals within a locality might want to read professional books borrowed from fellow professionals and they wouldn’t mind meeting each other to exchange books & network professionally. Rs.100 per book might appeal to readers of non-fiction books as these books are more expensive to buy than fiction books. 

    In the above model, there may be a challenge in collecting your fee as once people get to know each other they may avoid using your app / site. However, you can find solutions for this problem by charging an upfront / periodic membership fee.

    You can find target clients for your services from sites like Goodreads.com or professional association websites like Linkedin or academic sites like Researchgate.com

    Good luck in your endeavours!

  12. Hi Geetha

    First of all let me thank you for sharing your valuable inputs regarding my venture and business model.

    The idea of including logistics as a service has been one of the key differentiators for my model. There are a couple of reasons why I decided to include logistics service under Bookelphia – (i) My observation is that people in a city like Mumbai are typically time-starved and hence a many of them prefer door to door service. (ii) In the context of the most popular books (including mostly Fiction books), quite often the Borrower may be willing to go and collect the book, but there is little motivation for the Owner member to go out and meet someone for lending her book; (iii) many of our members also request for books for their parents and kids. They find it comforting that they’ll receive the book at home.

    Having said this, I do believe that your suggestion regarding creating neighbourhood network of book lovers would be good for avid book lovers as well as professionals. I will work on it to see how best I may integrate that into my current model. I think it would require my network to have enough members in key neighbourhoods to make it meaningful – means I need to work harder on seeking more members even as I evolve my business model further J

    I concur that Goodreads is a great place to find and reach booklovers. Will check out how to reach out to people on Goodreads and other networking sites. Would be happy to receive any inputs from you in this regard.

    Thank you once again for writing to me.

    If you are based in Mumbai, please join Bookelphia and experience it for yourself. And please do spread the word with family and friends in Mumbai who love reading. 

    Regards

    Reetu

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