"An online portal for buying and selling old used books "
In India, there are many people who are fond of reading books. However, not many of them are regular in reading books because the new books are costly. Inspite of the presence of some big players in the Indian Online book selling market, there is no one big name which deals in selling and buying old books of a varied genre. Academic books is one section of the market which has not been properly explored by any 1 company, and is still governed by small shops in the vicinity of schools and colleges. Presently, people have limited option with some very rare old book stores within a city where they live. Due to time constraints, not many people are able to visit traditional old book markets (like Daryaganj market and Nayi Sadak in Delhi). Even if they do, it involves a lot of hassles, and bargaining, which we believe the modern urban population would like to avoid.
People are comfortable with reading old books (the ones already read by someone else). Our idea revolves around providing all such people who would like to read their favorite titles in 2nd hand or old used books, an online portal where they can order books. Our platform will also provide an opportunity to people who normally buy new books but would like to sell them after they have read them. Along with maintaining an inventory of all these 2nd hand books, we would also offer an unique feature of matching customers with book-stores near their homes, who have that title. We also plan to create a library of these second-hand books which can be borrowed and then returned after a specified period of time for a specified sum.
Eliminating the cost of courier – To a large extent we would be able to avoid the use of courier service and hence save on costs, because the books asked for will be delivered by the book-stores nearest to the customer themselves. They will get a certain commission for that. Eliminating Local Competition – To a large extent we will be able to eliminate the threat by local shopkeepers, by making them our partners in the business. The shopkeepers will get more business, and besides we are not eating their profit margin rather increasing it (albeit by a very small percentage) Offering a platform to sell – People can sell their books to us. Interesting schemes like, sell your book and exchange it with a book of similar price, no exchange of money (the slight difference in cost will be shown in his account as change, b/w Rs. 0-9).
We would connect with the major book sellers in all the major cities of India and form a network of book sellers. Our value proposition will be that they will get more customers, a national presence and a commission on every book they deliver to a customer near them. The customers will make their order as well as payment on our website. The ‘price’ listed on our website will be equal to ‘our price’ plus the commission that we are offering to the shopkeepers (which will be in the bracket of 1-3 %). As such, the shopkeeper wouldn’t have to do anything out of ordinary and he does get more orders for books and hence more commission. We will keep an inventory of books, buyed : in bulk from such second-hand book vendors who wouldn’t want to become a part of our network from people registering on our website (by paying them cash or giving them books in return) from major traditional book vendors like Daryaganj market (carefully selected) by conducting online drives, on Social Media, to give old books in return for cash (we can get very good variety at very low price, through this medium) .
An online survey was conducted in 3 different cities – Delhi, Bangalore and Pune (by our respective team members). The survey questions can be seen here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHk2S1p1ZGVRb2I4N2FyMk5MSERj TGc6MQ#gid=0 The survey re-affirmed our belief that the customer do need such a service. The results of the survey can be seen here: http://www.slideshare.net/fullscreen/amitpandey1986/venture-lab-oap- value-proposition-testing/1 The summary of survey is this: 77% of the respondents would like to read old used books. 67 % of consumers who would like to read ‘used books’ will also like to buy them through an online portal.
Since the idea is to sell used old books, some customers might be apprehensive about the quality of books. It would be better if the website shows 3-4 snapshots of the real book from all sides (and not only the thumbnail image of the Title as given by publisher). This will lead to improved user experience. The customers thought that buying 2nd hand academic books made sense because they are replaced after every semester or year and old books came with useful notes in them. (What if we had a textbook with notes from a prestigious school in it? Would this increase the value?) While a few big players definitely have captured the market, we could gain a certain advantage by making the experience more personal. (Maybe a social element on what their friends or people similar to them are reading? Something like an app, where they could ask for reviews from their close friends, who too are subscribed to us.)
Market size for ‘online book shopping’ in India is expected to be between Rs. 20-25 crore for 2007-2008. Market size of whole of book industry in India is estimated at 4000 crores and is growing at a very quick pace. With the literacy rate of India increasing at a steady rate, publishers predict that India will become the worlds largest market for English books within the next 10 years. Second Hand Books constitute a major portion of the book retail market. The size of the Indian book retail industry is pegged at Rs. 3000 crore of which organized book retail constitutes only 7 %. The industry is expected to grow by approximately 15 % a year. Almost 50% of the orders come from the top eight cities and the remaining come from B & C class towns.
Low literacy rates (less number of readers) Lack of knowledge of operating internet/computer Internet usage/penetration is low Competition from unorganized market Time lag due to lack of proper inventory Low credit card penetration Customer not very open to paying online ALL OF THIS IS CHANGING. Literacy rate improves (it rose from 52 per cent to 68 per cent between 1991 and 2008) Internet penetration is increasing. E-Commerce market is set to boom. Online payment is being widely adopted (hint: Indian railways online booking record!)
The Indian market is being led by the following big players: Indian online companies: Flipkart Infibeam Indiaplaza.in Bookadda.com Brick and Mortar companies with an online presence: Landmark Crossword Foreign companies in india: Junglee – a service by Amazon Half.com – a service by eBay No company offers services proposed by us. Most of the foreign companies have very limited penetration in India. Their supply chain model in india is not that strong to capture the market (proof – Dominance of Flipkart, a 5 year old Indian company) Expansion of Brick and Mortar companies online – vey less market share – no threat.