SS: How was the idea of “PustakMandi” born?
VM: Umm. Question everyone asked me and still asking. Sometimes I feel that this is why I made PustakMandi.
There is no limit of ideas in life but the one idea which can get you to achieve your dreams is difficult to find.
I always wanted to do something of my own. Like I always had a thought that what I have studied and learnt is good enough for letting me do something of my own. A boy with a thought of doing higher studies and shift to abroad has turned out in a business is something I still imagine. I always wanted to study and shift to abroad. Study for me was not just to pass exams but always it was like my passion. Though I realized it very late.
Soon after my grad, my dream of going out got shattered and ultimately I joined the Service Industry and tried hard to achieve my dreams. But what people say is correct that in IT you can’t do what you want. So soon I started my research and began to do what I am good at. Creating Web apps and researching about Online stuffs which was on the top 2 years ago. So I did lot of research and ultimately PustakMandi came into existence.
SS: Share the journey of the initial stages of PustakMandi and what it is today.
VM: My favorite thing it is.
Anything or everything in the start is complex. Higher the dreams more your struggle.
PustakMandi initially started with different idea but ultimately it went in a different way. Whole idea of PustakMandi was never for a Monetary Benefit but it was always to make a community. If I compare it with the PustakMandi which was started 2 years ago, we have diversified on a huge path and now PustakMandi is not just an e-ecommerce platform. People/Authors come here not just to purchase but they come to feel a homely shopping like they do in an actual store.
SS: With so many sites selling books and even apps too (along with giants like Amazon and Flipkart) how did you create market presence?
VM: This is common question to every entrepreneur now a day. I don’t know why this question comes whenever any new startup comes. But frankly competition word is not in my dictionary. During school days this word was something important but now this is just a word without meaning.
Must be wondering what kind of thinking I have. Now to be honest, if someone thinks that these are our competitors then they can never go ahead of them. Instead why don’t you think that you are the only one. You have to reach to the core of people. This is what I did and I am still doing. None of our features are related to other marketplaces. We are here to create our own community and that’s why we are specific to books. Now back on your question, Amazon and flipkart are doing their work and we are doing ours. Amazon was established in 1996 and they went popular in India now that to by support of Amazon US. But PustakMandi is Indian origin and doing good with its time. Also major thanks to people/Publishers/Authors who supported us in every step we kept. Soon we will be someone that people can’t stop themselves talking about us biut yes not on defeating anyone. Just being ourselves.
SS: What’s the best thing about PustakMandi that attracts the book lovers?
VM: First of all, its name itself. PustakMandi, name says it all. Secondly its features which no site has. Plus, the facility. Now I can’t answer why we are good. That will be better answered by our customers.
SS: You offer a range of services. Which of the services are in demand with your customers?
VM: There are many services like WhatsApp, book on request, featured books. We are coming up with more as well which have never come into existence.
We are just trying to be in sync with modern generation by keeping in mind that no old generation get impacted. We are trying to create a diversified platform which attracts both.
SS: We know that bibliophiles find it difficult to part with their books. How comfortable are your customers in selling their books?
VM: Umm. This one is difficult. We don’t target to sell any specific book or of one author. We are a community where anyone or everyone can create his/her own attraction. We accept request of every author/Publisher/individuals. That’s what we believe. We don’t ignore anyone saying that we can’t feature them, nor we are accepting everyone. We are trying to be neutral so that no one thinks bad.
SS: Who are the people behind PustakMandi? Do share about your team
VM: Majorly our customers/fans/Readers are behind PustakMandi. Without them it’s nothing.
But if you are asking about our core team, then they all are my best buddies of life from college. Few are unknown to me but yet dear to me. We have never met but working for and with PustakMandi like their baby. So yes PustakMandi is not because of people but it is for the people. And that’s my own life moto. To live for the people. This is just a step to reach my goal.
SS: What are your future plans?
VM: There were lot of plans in the past like doing MS and shifting Abroad. But destiny took me here. Now if I say I need to make PustakMandi big and this is the plan, then I won’t be utmost honest as I am not god who can tell future. I am just a simple boy who is doing everything what every entrepreneur should do. No work is small or big. Just do it with full honesty. That will make your future automatically.
SS: Thanks a lot for giving your time for the interview and sharing the story of your rise in the media and publishing world!
Vipul Madhani is Founder and CEO of PustakMandi.com an online portal that connects bibliophiles in droves. Vipul started his career as a software engineer but found calling in the world of books where he felt the gap of readers and their books was wide. He founded PustakMandi on an idea and he wanted to test it. Little did he realize that it would grow more than his expectations and today he is completely devoted to rising it further.