Launched with a philanthropic vision, IndiaReads is an online book rental platform, where students and readers in general, can rent books and save money. The company was founded in December 2009 as a library subscription platform. It went live as a book rental website in August 2014.
Founded by Gunjan Veda IndiaReads is building a sharing economy of reading & learning resources. Talking about the idea to start the venture, Gunjan said, “As a part of Planning Commission, I travelled across the country and felt an urgent need of making books & knowledge affordable. That is how IndiaReads was incepted.”
What problems is it solving?
The requirement for reading resources is time-limited. Book-rentals offer immense affordability. A student can rent a textbook in less than 25% of the cost of the book.
How does the company ensure safety of the rented books?
Noida based company, charges an initial payable amount which covers the procurement cost of the book for IndiaReads. When the user returns the book in good condition, applicable rent is deducted and remainder of initial payable is refunded. Rent depends on the price of the book and rental duration. The user has flexible return options ranging from 1 month to 1 year.
What key features is the startup offering?
It currently offers over 1.8 lakh titles on rent, across 50+ genres of reading which includes academic textbooks, competitive exams, fiction, technology, non-fiction, management, self help etc.
The company claims to have over three lakh registered users. It provides door-delivery and pick-ups of books in 500+ cities and the delivery charge is included in the rental charges only.
This book rental platform is also for corporates. As an employee engagement initiative, corporates can now offer a pan-India library subscription to it’s employees. Some of its corporate clients include HDFC Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, Axis bank, Genpact, Whirlpool, etc.
The startup is competing with other companies working on a similar model such as iLoveRead.in, Librarywala.com, Justbookclc.com, myonlinelibrary.in, bookmeabook.com and others.
Its competitor in the corporate vertical is Kwench.in.
Present Status and Future Plans of the Company
With its service the company is targeting the books market which is estimated to be around $2 billion and education sector which has a market worth of over $20 billion in India.
The founder said, “Our dream is to use technology to ensure that reading and learning become accessible and affordable for all. We firmly believe that collaborative consumption has the potential to strengthen the knowledge economy of India and that is what we are trying to do.”
The company raised an undisclosed amount of funding from SF based angel investors namely Prashanth Nerella (Business Intelligence at Facebook) and Namit Raisurana (Product Manager at Facebook) in June 2015. Presently, it is in talks with institutional investors to raise its Series A round.
For future, the company is looking to expand to offer digital learning resources as well such as e-books, e-magazines, audio-books & video courses. It could be accessed on platforms like web, android, iOS by individual users and organizations like corporates, schools, colleges alike.
IndiaReads will be rolling out it Android app service soon. Summing up the conversation, Pranil Bafna, CEO of INDIAreads said, “We Indians are price sensitive and are always looking for the best deal/offer. If start-ups focus on delivering an authentic user experience with convenience as the focal point, the sky is the limit.”