Papyrus Library

This blog will highlight our experiences at starting and running a library on our own. All the things we've learnt from this will be posted here to help us and others who choose to follow the path of entrepreneurship.

Monday, February 05, 2007

How it all began...And where we are now!

We were talking over coffee, Anand and I. He had been thinking about libraries for some time now, and he asked me what do I think it takes to start a library, and how lucrative it might be. I'm always interested in startups, so I put my mind to it, and churned out some numbers. It was amazing how off the mark I was in terms of the revenue. The cost of setting up, and the pros and cons I could list out well, but the actuall revenue of existing libraries is mindblowing! That solely, makes setting up a library worthwhile. IISc seemed like the perfect place to test out our theory, and ofcourse, its exciting to try anything new!

We soon roped in two more buddies, Joey and John, to execute our plan. We had a lot of fun in that first month, with loads of decisions to make about what books to buy, where to keep them, what to put on the website (Ofcourse we have a website! Its at, what to price the books at...

We got inputs from mannny avid readers on campus, and by the time we got it up and running which was on May 19th 2006, we had quite a few potential members waiting to sign up!

Ofcourse, we didnt intend to be the average boring browsing library. Ours is a library with a difference. The whole catalog is available online at We wanted to let users request books online, With a promise that we would get the books to them at dinner time outside the Mess!

We did a lot of campaigning for the library in the first week, and got a reasonably good response. At the start we had just 150 books, and an idea that we wanted to make a monetary profit from this venture.

As time went by, and we met with elders, and talked to them, we realised that we were onto a good thing. We were doing something genuinely nice, and people in IISc would gain a lot from this library. That was reason enough to throw any ideas of making money in the air! Our mission changed completely at that point of time.

We are now aiming at being a self-sustaining library... The money we make, should suffice to keep the library dynamic, and up-to-date. We want the latest titles, the most popular authors, and we want to cater to our members, the IISc student populace.

I think we are doing a pretty good job at it. The numbers should speak for themselves. 100 odd members, 500 odd books, and around 1K revenue a month. The most confidence inspiring number is that of the partners in this venture. We are 7 people (plus 4 juniors) who've put in time, money and a whole lot of effort to make Papyrus a grand success. This itself shows that people believe in our enterprise, and are willing to support it.