WHILE Seeking new ways to entertain themselves during various constraints, many people have rediscovered the habit of reading in the past year, and book sales have reached new heights in the past year.
This phenomenon has been a boon for the fast-growing market for independent online stores. Many have taken to Instagram, filled with bookstores and book lovers looking for the next correct reading.
One such seller is Sleepy Cat Bookstore (@thesleepycatbookshop), run by 40-year-old Van Noreen Van Ahmad, a resident housewife and mother of five, who began selling books as a side business in late 2016. …
In an email interview with SunNoreen explained, “I used to work as a biology teacher, editor for a publishing company, and associate editor for a weekly magazine. After years of doing work and caring for children, I finally decided to become a full-time housewife. While at home, I did freelance editing work and dabbled in several translation projects before I ventured into book sales. ”
A self-identified bookworm, Noreen has loved to read since she was a child, and as she decided to pursue a full-time book sale, she soon found a community of dedicated readers and book enthusiasts who helped her take her business to the next level. it is today.
Sleepy Cat’s bookstore mascots are her two cats, Bob and Hakuna, who often delight their followers with their antics, which she shares on Instagram along with a selection of books for sale.
Where do you usually get your books from?
“I originally sold my collection of books for which I no longer had room. As my business grew, I had to constantly replenish my inventory of books, so I started buying used books from individuals, charities, and bookstores that offer goods for sale.
“I would also sell books, taking advantage of lower prices and huge inventory. From time to time I received donations for books from private donors and friends who cleaned their homes.
“Typically, the books I offer are selected based on my personal preferences, bookstore recommendations, and the wishlists of my subscribers and clients. Another important criterion is, of course, the physical condition of the books. It takes a lot of time and effort to select used books to find the ones that are suitable for sale. “
What challenges did you face as an independent online bookseller?
“My business is essentially a one-woman show, and I do everything myself – from finding books, photographing, editing and uploading them to Instagram, to packing books and submitting them. completed tasks are only part of the job. Honestly, now I have less time to read because I sell books!
“Nowadays, with so many places under the jurisdiction of the MCO or EMCO, finding used books in itself becomes quite a challenge. The limited relocation from one location to another means that I cannot go out as often as I need to to replenish my supply, and I cannot physically check the status of books as usual. On top of that, I need to get the books home by delivery service, which in turn increases the cost of the book. “
What trends have you noticed in the books people are looking for?
“I noticed that there is a significant interest among readers in the carefree escape from reality, which, I believe, is caused by the desire to escape from our dark reality and deal with loneliness and grief. Local bookmakers seem to gravitate towards fantasy reading filled with magic and drama, modern rom-coms, sharp and clever thrillers, and inspiring and spiritual popular science fictions. ”
Why do you find it important to maintain the reading habit?
“Maintaining a reading habit has never been as important as it is now. It is a healthy coping mechanism for people affected by the pandemic as well as people facing mental health problems. Simple reading can help relax your body, calm your nerves, and calm your mind from negative self-talk. I myself find it very useful when dealing with negative emotions and everyday stress, and I want To I keep this habit until old age. “
Do you think paper books still have a place in the modern world?
“Absolutely! With paper books, you get a multi-sensory experience compared to e-books. You can actually smell crisp pages as you turn them, inhale the wonderful smell of old paper and ink, and feel the weight of your reading progress as the number of pages read folds up.
“Unlike e-books, there are also no bright lights that interfere with your vision, or links that distract you from reading. Ebooks are built with convenience, speed, and portability in mind, but regular books are built for deep reading, slow processing, and patience.
“And it’s undeniable that you will feel the genuine sense of belonging and emotional connection that comes from viewing beautifully laid out paper books.”
What are your plans for the future of Sleepy Cat Bookstore?
“In the current situation, it is difficult to plan what will happen next, but I hope that the Sleepy Cat bookstore will continue to operate for many years to come. I am currently looking for the newest and most effective methods of answering my customers’ inquiries and making the buying process easier.
“I have no plans to open a physical store in the near future due to resource constraints and time constraints, but that could change as well. I hope that as my business grows, I can continue to give back to the local book community and make a difference. “