A great business idea is nothing but finding a solution to a problem that you as an individual face and know that there is a market for this solution. Your idea gets validated when others facing the same problem are excited about your solution and are willing to pay for it.
In our Share Your Story series that aims to showcase women entrepreneurs, we are excited to share the story of Pustaka!
Nivetha Padmanaban is founder of Pustaka, a one-stop ebook shop focused on vernacular Indian languages.
Thanks to Nivetha for volunteering to share the story.
My native is Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I graduated MCA from Madurai Kamaraj University in 1998. I worked at various IT companies for 15 years and worked for 9 years with ThoughtWorks, Bangalore. My stay with ThoughtWorks gave me good exposure in all verticals and few of my ex-TWer friends quit and started their own startup. That is how I got to know about startup world and the challenges in that world. The challenges involved in making the startup always attracted me. Being a TWer means it involves lots of travel and I saw this problem of non-availability of regional language books for Indians living in other countries. We are solving so many complex problems for the client and I thought why not solve our problem using same skills and technology. So I decided to start this venture to experience the startup world and provide a technology solution for book lovers.
I love to read books in my native language (Tamil) more than any other language. Since the age of 10, as soon as I pick up a book, I forget the world around me. I terribly missed them whenever I travel to other countries. Friends living in other countries also shared the same pain. That’s how I decided to start my own venture on ebooks focused on Indian languages.
After the first article about us, I received many mails from different countries appreciating the effort and idea. I always knew there is a gap, but I realized the need is much more than I thought.
Pustaka aims to be a one-stop shop for readers of any language of India. We hope to digitize some of the rare literary works so that these priceless collections can be preserved for the future generations. But underlying all these ambitions is our burning desire to enable readers to have ready access to books that they want to read no matter where they are. An E-book shop for vernacular Indian languages. These e-books are available for purchase as well as lending.
Pustaka boasts of books in Tamil, Kannada,Telugu and Malayalam languages by well known authors such as Subha, Pattukottai Prabhakar, Kalki, Vimala Ramani, Yandamoori Veerendranath, E Santhosh Kumar, Sivasankari, Kommuri Venugopal Rao, Shyamala Madhav and many more!
My business involves lots of manual typing work, where one has to manually type the complete printed book into Word to create the ebook. I am dealing with 4 different languages and thousands of books. I tried so many options including outsourcing, part-time employees, full-time employees etc. Finally, I addressed this by delegating to college girls from poor family backgrounds. This income helps their family and fund their studies and they are very committed. I am happy that this small income helps them to continue their studies.
Pustaka is still new and I am trying various marketing strategies to reach book readers. To be honest, I still have not found the strategy which works for me. But, I understand this is something which I have to keep trying till I find something that works for me.
My Role Model
My friend Savita Rao who is no more. I learned how to be self-confident, the importance of self-respect, to make bold decisions, to sometimes ignore people and move-on, the importance of keeping your dreams alive and many many more aspects of life.
Dear Women Entrepreneurs
Women form half of the population, which means that much potential is untapped.
According to me, women are natural leaders, they have great focus, very passionate at what they do and good at handling multiple tasks at the same time. Women can achieve much much more if they understand their potential.
My only advice is, there is no good or bad time to start your own. Start NOW, then you will find ways to solve the problems as and when it comes. In this internet era, mompreneurs has various opportunities which provides the flexibility they want.
“Fail Fast” is the mantra which I follow all the time.
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We encourage our readers to check out Pustaka’s website and social profiles for more details!