I am starting a section in my blog inspired by Coffee with Sundar. I intend to post in this section, snippets of interesting conversations with people I am inspired by. First in this series is a conversation I had today with the founder of Mylib, Bhavna Desai. Mylib is a lending library that has come up in Jayanagar 9th block opposite Ragiguda. To know more about the library and what it has to offer, read this post below. The below conversation is of course not reproduced verbatim.
Siva: Hello! I want to blog about MyLib. I have begun to like this place a lot. Before blogging, I just thought, I should talk to you for a while...
Siva: How did this idea of setting up a library at this place come about?
Bhavna: I don't come from a background that would have made this a natural choice. I have a masters degree in Statistics. I worked for banks and then realized that it was not where I wanted to be. I saw that there was a need for a good library in this area.
Siva: So it was passion that made you take this up?
Bhavna: Not exactly. I am not as passionate about books as you might think I am. I do read once in a while. It is a matter of demand and supply that I was able to see here.
Siva: What drives your collection here? I see that you have a very good variety.
Bhavna: When I started, it was the internet and sites like Amazon and ratings there. I didn't want to stock too much. Now if you ask me, it is my customers' feedback. I talk to them and try to know what they look for. I try my best to make them available here.
Siva: So, it is more of networking...
Bhavna: Yes and the distributors also help you.
Siva: How has it been since you started?
Bhavna: It is just two months, so it is hard to say anything. I don't buy the argument that the Internet has killed reading. I see a lot of young people in cities like Bangalore in book shops like Landmark and Crossword. Reading is still developing. I think that people in India still find reading a serious activity; they don't view it as pleasurable and one that can be pursued in one's leisure. I would like to go online and into home delivery though when I ask my customers, most of them say that they don't have internet at home while a few prefer online. My intention is also to provide a good atmosphere; to give my customers a good atmosphere to browse books and read.
Recession has also helped me. It has brought down rents and book prices. Parents who have second thoughts about buying books for their children find a place like this very convenient.
Siva: I think you are right. I had a target of one book every month, but down the line, even that became a little prohibitive.
Bhavna: Yes. One of my challenges is in marketing. I have not done a great deal of marketing for this. It is just my customers telling their relatives and friends and they in turn doing the same.
Siva: It is pretty word-of-mouth then...
Bhavna: Yes, the best part is a customer recommending to another potential customer.
Siva: Would you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
Bhavna: Yes, I would, though the idea is not original as you can see a lot of young people in this area.
Siva: Would you deem any qualification necessary now that you are a librarian?
Bhavna: I won't call myself that. If you see, the books are categorized from a layman perspective. When you visit any popular book store and see this categorization at MyLib, it is similar to what they have. A librarian might do a better job at this.
Siva: So, are you planning at recruiting more people and expanding?
Siva: Thanks for your time!
I feel that to be earnest, sincere and to demonstrate the resolve of an entrepreneur in a field like this demands conviction and courage. This initiative is impressive and looks all set to reap good dividends and feedback for the founder. I wish her the very best!