One of the traits of entrepreneurship is to create something valuable which solves a problem and caters to the needs of a segment. Tejasv Guglani and Aditya Todi are two such young entrepreneurs, who passed out last year from Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, where startups and entrepreneurship are still alien terms.
But they are solving a problem. With Bookelivery, an online book renting and buying portal, the duo want to make text books easier to buy, sell or rent. The Delhi based portal offers book rental service to the natives of Delhi University. It provides books for more than 10 courses taught in Delhi University such as Economics, History and B com among others. The site which went live on July 23 has received online orders worth more than Rs 10,000. That’s not bad for a three week old startup.
The website asks users to fill in basic details such as name, email, phone number along with the name of the book and author one wants to rent or buy. New and secondhand books are available for renting and buying. The retail price of a book is is charged initially as security deposit, nearly 60% of which is refunded at the time of returning the book. Shipping is free in campuses and home deliveries are charged.
Though asking users to input author and book titles is an easy and simple approach, it can be a turnoff as at times students do not have clarity on what books they might want. Browsing randomly in a given course category might serve the purpose better.
Aditya Todi, COO, Bookelivery, says that there is no such service dedicated for students of Delhi University which has more than 1.5 lakh students. “So our market is small but niche and targeted,” he said.
The company has started a “BOOKSBUDDY Campus Ambassador program”, where it assigns students the responsibility of marketing and promoting the service in their respective colleges, a cost effective way of marketing the brand. The startup plans to expand in Delhi in coming months.
There are dozens of websites catering to the student and reader community, offering book rental and buying service through digital mediums.
Your Study Material is another web portal which has a rent and read model tailored for college students. Since its inception in September 2011, the portal has rented more than 5500 books. The service is available in Bangalore where it cover 100 colleges and in Guwahati where it caters to 5 colleges. [Read more]
Several other similar services such as Bucketbolt, BookMeABook, DoorstepBooks and Rentmytex offer Indian book lovers an easy and low cost option to rent and read books. Some are localised services for a niche but some have a broader approach.
Globally, players like BookRenter and Chegg, have made it into a multimillion dollar business. CampusBookRentals, a US based book renting portal, has moved a step ahead. Its sister portal, RentBack, allows students to not only rent books for themselves but also to lease out their own books to the website. When the leased book gets further rented students get paid. So one can be both, a buyer and a seller. Indian portals which do allow selling books online still lack these innovative features.