Are you a bookworm looking to swap collections with like-minded people? There is an app for that
Every reader knows the pain of seeing unwanted books being thrown away by their owner just like that. This is exactly what Arvind Monie felt when he found the hardcover version of a Geronimo Stilton book, which might cost at least S$20 (US$14), lying around in a disposal bin in his condominium.
“If only I knew someone who would have liked to have it. Or better still, if someone I knew had a book I wanted, and wanted to give it away,” he says to himself.
The incident led him to start Novelinked, a location-based book-swapping app that allows readers to connect, meet and exchange books from their collections.
Users can begin by creating a catalogue of the books that they want to exchange. They are then going to be matched based on reading preferences and location. After that, users can arrange to meet up with their new friends, and get a new pre-loved book for free.
Apart from allowing book lovers to connect, the Singapore-based startup also aims to solve the problem of poor access to library infrastructure in growing English-reading populations such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where it is focussing its marketing efforts.
Though it is currently self-funded, he is looking for funding opportunities to help expand the team.
Novelinked will be released globally for Android and iOS devices on December 7.
Return of the books
The rise of e-book, marked by the launch of the first Amazon Kindle, had been seen as a threat to the traditional publishing industry.
However, in less than a decade, the tables have started to turn and books are making a comeback.
“From mid-2014 … large publishers started negotiating an agency model with Amazon, which meant Amazon would lose the right to [subsidise the] price of e-books,” Monie explains.
“The price differentials are now no longer as compelling for buyers as before,” he adds, highlighting that pricing was one of the reasons why people are drawn to e-books.
To declare the return of books to the public, Novelinked plans a marketing communications strategy that involves social media advertising, online events to educate and engage potential users, as well as cross-promotion opportunities for Asian writers to advertise on Novelinked in return for sign-ups from their fans.
Though based in Singapore, Novelinked will focus its marketing to India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
“These markets have been selected based on Novelinked Facebook Fan Page Insights. Given the App is a location-based app, marketing efforts will be focussed on top cities within these markets,” Monie explains.
Fellowship of the readers
In the long run, Novelinked plans to monetise through an annual subscription model once it has added new relevant content for readers. It also plans to add works by Asian independent authors in e-book format as well as access to premium features, such as the ability to view another user’s library.
“The goal at the moment is to build a community of like-minded people with a love for reading,” says Monie.
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