Riticka Srivastav: The Face Behind India’s First Online Second-Hand Book Store

Book Thela

For an avid book reader, you’d stop at nothing to get your fix of the latest books to feed your bibliophilic soul. But not everyone’s pockets are deep enough to buy them all and let’s face it, the prices of books aren’t lowering anytime soon (or ever!). And if you’re a bibliophile on a budget, the Book Thela might just be your biggest life (and money) saver. This online second-hand book store boasts of a classic collection at incredibly low prices. Apart from the major buck you save, you’d even save yourself a trip to the local book shop scouring through massive piles of books till you find the one you’re looking for. And if you’re wondering who is responsible for this kind of magic, you have Delhi-based Riticka Srivastav to thank.

After doing a side entrepreneurship stint in college where she sold packaged food products to hostel students (who had no access to food at night except the mess), Riticka’s passion for entrepreneurship peaked and that’s when she realized that wanted to start her own venture someday. It was during her last semester of college when her father, who is an author himself, suggested the idea of selling used and second-hand books online. “He knew about my passion for books and entrepreneurship and encouraged me to follow my dreams. The main aim of starting the venture was to unite broke bibliophiles like me with their favourite reads without the hassle of travelling to far off places to buy cheap books. As a college student with a limited budget, I had to travel a lot to different places to buy cheap secondhand books. Also, the secondhand book market is not organized at all, which is when I realized that I could mold my business idea around this problem and lend a solution for the same”, she says.

Running a business at such a young age has been a great learning experience for her, and she understood the dynamics of the industry and how to leverage her strengths to develop a sustainable business. The skills she developed overtime gave her the confidence that age is just a number, all you need is hard work and sincerity to run a business. But what is more rewarding and empowering to her are the ‘thank you’ e-mails she receives from her customers. “I’m actually bringing a smile on someone’s face and changing their life for the better as books are a bundle of knowledge. I had never imagined that work could be this much fun. If you do what makes you happy, everything else will fall into place. I firmly believe that ‘Dreams are not those which you see at night while sleeping, but dreams are those which do not let you sleep at night”, says the self-confessed bibliophile, whose personal favourites include Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, Far Pavilion by M.M. Kaye, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Also, the International Award Winning Novel ‘Daggers of Treason’ written by her father, holds a very special place in her heart.

As of now, the books on the website are available only in the English language but Riticka plans to add more languages like Hindi and expand to international languages like French, German etc. The genres of books on the website include two main categories – fiction and non-fiction which again have sub-categories like Thriller, Historical fiction, Adventure, Romance, Classics, Fantasy in the fiction section and biography, dictionary in the non-fiction section. There is also a separate section for Best-sellers, Most Popular, New books, 49 Club (all books priced at Rs. 49) and the Library Collection. You need not worry about the limited range of management books – the collection will soon be expanding.

As for the future of Book Thela, in addition to expanding categories on the website, Riticka plans to develop and launch an app. She also plans on adding College study material and Entrance Exam books as well as books of different languages. Currently, the books on the website are available only in English, but adding regional languages like Hindi and international languages like French, German etc. is also in the works.


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