Books are not just a mix of some pages and some letters. Well, for those who are genuine book lovers, books are a juxtaposition of passion and emotion. To satisfy their intellectual hunger they need books and specifically not e-books or audiobooks. The smell of books, how the papers sound and feel in hands, those feelings and sensations are irreplaceable for any book geek.
Abhishek Sayam, a bibliophile started a journey to reintroduce the love for reading physical books with BooksByKilo in 2018! Mumbai-based BooksByKilo is actually ‘an attempt made to sell books by weight and not by printed costs’.Abhishek says, “Physical books provide so much visual and tactile efforts.” At first BooksByKilo started with an offline store in Kamothe, Mumbai. After three months they went online.
The online platform of BooksByKilo has a wide range of books from children’s books to adult fiction. They offer good quality books at extremely low prices.
Abhishek says, “These are not pirated, low-quality books often sold in neighborhood second-hand book stores. These are all 100 percent original and pre-loved books.”
The startup’s ability to source good quality pre-loved books is the reason for the loyalty of its audience. Abhishek shares how he found the sourcing model for his books. They started looking up vendors in both India and abroad and after detailed scrutiny and quality checks, they finalized some of them. On the present day, the startup sources books from vendors across India and after buying in bulk they sort the books in their warehouse.
Abhishek says, “We try to maintain a balance between what we think readers want and what they actually want”. Staying relevant to the point and their quality have always been their biggest growth driver. He added. “It’s been almost two years with zero-order returns.”
As the business began to grow, Whatsapp for Business App came to rescue. Whatsapp Business App creates a positive connection between the customer and the company by creating a distinct identity from the informal messaging platform. This platform helped the team interact more with the people and understand their needs. This platform also helped them to inform customers about the order status and the team even got their feedback from it.
Abhishek also added, “With Whatsapp even business communication became informal. It broke down the psychological barriers for the customers. And interacting with customers effectively saw the sales shoot up by 40 percent. With the help of the feature of instant messaging and group broadcasting of messages help the startup to promote books to multiple contacts at once and save time.”
The main focus of this startup has always been “spend less and read more”. Now, on average, BooksByKilo sells 5,000 books every month. Abhishek shares, “There is a huge demand for children’s books as well as teen and adult fiction. Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer, and Julia Donaldson are always on high demand.”
Abhishek also added a positive side of environmental impact. “With every tonne of books sold, we have been instrumental in saving 17 fully grown trees, 1,500 litres of oil, 81 cubic feet of a landfill, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 litres of water. So far we have sold five tonnes of books.”
The concept of the startup was totally based on second-hand book stores. Now they have already travelled a long way with their dream of helping people rediscover their love for books. But still, when something goes wrong they remember those struggling days. The BooksByKilo team is now working on the ‘buying a book’ business model, which will “allow them to procure books from anyone in India in return for BooksByKilo credits or actual money.”
So all the bookworms out there, yes you! Go ahead and buy kilos and kilos of your favourite thing in this world at www.booksbykilo.in!
– Composed by Shreya Roy