Meet Entrepreneur Jyotsna Dilip Who Runs A Travelling Bookstore For Children

Posted: January 11, 2016

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Jyotsna Dilip, another passionate woman entrepreneur, shares her journey in setting up a travelling bookstore for children called, ‘The Rabbit Hole’.

Does the name, ‘The Rabbit Hole’ sound unusual for a bookstore? I thought so initially too till I got to know the reason behind it. Well, it goes like this – “A book is like the Rabbit Hole that Alice from Alice in Wonderland went down to – if you see one open, you will end up disappearing inside!” Jyotsna believes that spending time with books will bind you in that magical reflex.

Before ‘The Rabbit Hole’ happened..

Jyotsna has been in many roles before starting her own bookstore. She started her career in IT industry and has over 10 years of experience, before she decided to become a full time mom for her two kids. During this time she added to her qualifications by completing her MBA while helping her husband in the operations/administration departments of his business. She also completed a course on facilitation and child development and started freelancing and writing educational content for children. Jyotsna also runs a reading program for children called, Seed a Read. Amidst all this, ‘The Rabbit Hole’ happened!

Ideated over a conversation with a friend!

The Rabbit Hole Bookstore is a passionate initiative by Jyotsna to bring the world of literature and books close to the children. The idea was born out of a deep love for reading and sharing the beauty of books. Jyotsna says that the idea of starting an all children travelling bookstore was conceived simply over a conversation with her friend, and since then, there was no turning back! Apart from young part time volunteers, it’s just Jyotsna who runs the show.

About the beauty of books & their significance to kids

Jyotsna offers, “You can read the same book every three years and each time your life experiences will make you see the book differently. So unleash your kids in your personal or public library and watch the magic happen.” It is truly amazing to know that angle on how much a book can mean to you from time to time. There are other important factors that she considers crucial to introduce books to your children-

  1. A book provides children with a time for quiet and calmness in their busy lives
  2. Reading time presents parents with more opportunities to bond with their children
  3. Reading a variety of books exposes children to a wide range of vocabulary and assists in the development of literacy skills
  4. Reading can stimulate imagination and play, provoke discussions and lets kids reflect on their thoughts with the inspiration obtained.

What makes ‘The Rabbit Hole’ so unique?

The Rabbit Hole is a Bangalore based travelling children’s bookstore. The concept is unique, combining flexibility with the wonder of books. Jyotsna says, “We curate a collection month on month, used and new books, international and Indian publications. We travel to schools, communities and events to showcase our fantastic range of children’s literature. Our desire is to make the extraordinary world of books available for children, firing their imagination through stories and illustrations.”

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The role of a “Curator”

A book has to impress its curator to make its place in the store. Being a curator can be the most enjoyable and yet exhausting role, as it demands time and patience in the selection of a book. When asked Jyotsna about how she manages to do it, she says, “The value of the bookseller is specifically in his role as a “curator” – one who presents a collection that reflects his tastes. The chance of discovery is vital to the act of book-browsing, so I have always tried to fill the categories that attract children.”

She categorized the books as per children’s age and they fit into one of the following age groups – baby books (0-2 years), picture books (2 – 5), beginner readers (5 – 7 ), young fiction (6-8), core fiction (8 – 11) and teen or YA (Young Adult 12 years plus).

Getting into the nitty-gritties

Investing in books is not a bad idea after all! The major challenge, though, is that people are not into reading books and also getting kids out of their digital world and kindle an interest in the world of books in them.

Jyotsna reveals, “We also need to ensure that reading for pleasure and academics are interpreted as two different aspects of child’s learning journey. At a time when everyone is lamenting the imminent death of the physical bookstore, we have been brave enough to venture into an area that no financial advisor would recommend! We have to do fun and innovative things to survive.”

She undertakes custom book orders and sources the used books from US and UK, which are quite fast moving as they are offered at a discounted price. They have been part of many PTM sessions and annual day events at schools. In addition to that they have also been part of family carnivals, fun & book festivals and children’s events.

READiscover, the striking community event

READiscover is the Book Fair hosted by The Rabbit Hole Bookstore at least once a month. The book fair creates excitement with different competitions, activities and fun things to do. The book fair mostly showcases discounted books at different venues – like at flea markets and kids carnivals. Jyotsna adds, “We are committed to encouraging a lifelong love of reading amongst children. Our book fairs always feature a carefully selected range of over 200 titles, all reviewed and approved by our editorial team, so that you can buy them with confidence. We offer a superb selection of books aimed at children up to the age of 14 at prices from as little as Rs.50!”

 The Rabbit Hole

Best moments & motivation going forward

Jyotsna enjoys telling stories while recommending books to parents and kids. She says, “While telling stories, I love to watch their eyes excitedly light up with anticipation to read the rest!  It makes my day when they message back to say how much the book was enjoyed, and then come back for more!”

They also have plans to include the books by child authors in future and envision a physical store as well, in addition to the mobile bookstore.

She concludes, “Books reveal the kaleidoscopic diversity of human experience. They show us that the world is an infinitely fascinating place. Kids are more thoughtful than they’re sometimes given credit for, and they should be allowed to browse and sample and explore.”

You can contact Jyotsna at 8762043446 and jyotsna@therabbitholebookstore.com. Here is the facebook link – The Rabbit Hole

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Images source: Jyotsna Dilip.

Loves to click pictures, dance, cook, travel, craft, read and write!

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