Riticka Srivastav, a 24-year old entrepreneur started to sell second- hand books online at her website ‘Book Thela’ at throwaway prices in early 2017. It was her author-father, in fact, who lent her the idea of selling pre-owned books online.
“He knew I was into books and also wanted to do something on my own after college. During my rounds of multiple bookshops in Delhi, I realised that second-hand books comprised a very unorganised market, but had a lot of potential. So, I decided to do something in this area”, said Riticka.
Armed with an initial capital of Rs 2 lakh, she went about buying 150 kg of books – her first stock – from Old Delhi’s second-hand book vendors.
Book Thela revenues have grown five-fold in two years. The startup claims to have achieved break-even in the first month itself.
Categories of books includes fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, comics, and academic books. It has also started selling French and German titles, and plans to add more languages – Indian and international – to the library.
Book Thela is not the only player in the largely unorganised used books market in India. There is Amazon.in, which lists second-hand books under its Local Finds section. Plus, there are homegrown platforms such as BookChor, BookMandee, Second Hand Books India, AbeRuk (which specialises in college and exam books), and hundreds of physical bookshops selling second-hand books across cities and towns.
But, Riticka asserts that Book Thela stands out – at least, online – because of the price advantages it offers. these books are available at costs 50-60 percent lower than the retail price makes them all the more appealing, especially among the youth.