COVID-19 has done strange things to people, most of them sad, but for some it has changed their lives. Take for example a group of middle school students across India who have created online bookstores not only to conquer their boredom, but also to support the golden habit of reading.
In a world of Kindle, audiobooks, Wattpad, and PDFs; the feeling of reading a book in its physical form, smelling the pages and using a cute bookmark, is dying out. During the lockdown, college thrift stores attempted to rekindle the old tradition of reading ‘physical’ books through online platforms and got a good response.
An avid reader, Nidhi Lodaya said, âI follow a lot of thrift stores. Every now and then I am looking for books and I find them in thrift stores. But, within minutes of posting a book for sale on Instagram, it goes out of stock. It has happened to me many times where I ask the seller for a particular book right after a minute after it has been published and it is already gone. Nidhi is a college student and is on a tight budget. This is how thrift stores have become forerunners in the world of reading.
Shamim Khan runs an Instagram store called The Old Postman which he started last year while finishing his studies. His Instagram page has 2,209 followers.
Since he was an avid reader, he started the store and it worked for him as a stress reliever. Shamim went on to describe how he went from reading many books to creating a way to sell them. âI had a lot of books and I started by selling my own books. I remember the first time I sold books, the buyer said to me, “You have to let go of the books, Shamim.” I sold 21 books worth Rs 1600 and only bought more books. Thanks to my growing little store, I have sold over 2,000 books in the last ten months and my personal self is only growing, âhe said.
Shamim is currently preparing the entrance test to join Jamia Millia Islamia for a Masters in English Literature. According to him, his studies will not be affected because of the store. âAs I would be doing my Masters in English, it would be comparatively much easier than for the other students. And it’s really fun. He said. Something out of the box he makes that acts as a bonus is writing witty captions with the photos of the books he sells. âI’m getting to know things I didn’t know and it just adds a bonus to sharing them on the store via a quiz, poetry or short clips. ”
He can’t wait to be a part of this community and if he doesn’t sell books then at least help other sellers by finding the right book suppliers. For Shamim, the whole journey of selling books is a warm and heartwarming feeling. âThis is home,â he said. Another thrift store owner, Ayesha Shaikh, whose bookstore is called The Pepper Pages, said: âI was cleaning my library and an idea hit me: ‘why not sell these books so I can buy some. more ? I started my business in 2020 when we all switched to online courses. My classes were only until 1pm and after that I was spending time managing my Instagram bookstore.
Ayesha, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology from KJ Somaiya, said her parents were totally supportive of her and were sure she was able to run this small business while continuing her education. âCurrently, I will definitely continue with this store, but in the future, if I move abroad to pursue my Masters, I will have to make a difficult decision. ”
Ayesha also creates her own bookmarks with the help of her sisters and sells them on the same page.
Two Delhi-based engineering students, who wanted to remain anonymous, came up with the idea of ââstarting an online bookstore. The name of their online store is Onlinebookstore41.
One of the pair expressed how much he enjoyed reading books but couldn’t afford to buy more and more books. So he decided to start this store with his friend so that more people like him could buy books cheaply.
He added: âOne of the reasons I opened the store was that I wanted to be financially independent and not ask my parents for money,â he added. They are looking for both donors and buyers. If anyone would like to donate or buy books, send them a DM on Instagram. Running a bookstore with the university is hard work, but these students started with it and in their late teens and early twenties they own a business. And what could be a better business idea for book lovers than selling books?
Chamim Khan | FPJ photo
Ayesha Cheikh | FPJ photo
The Pepper Pages – Instagram | FPJ photo
The Old Postman | FPJ photo
Online bookstore41 – Instagram | FPJ photo
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Posted on: Tuesday December 21, 2021 3:56 PM IST