We’re massive on studying right here at Vulcan Submit, so when my colleague Joyce advised me she had simply frequented a secondhand bookstore, I believed nothing a lot of it.
However then, she confirmed me footage of the vivid, well-organised retailer and the way it functioned on an unmanned idea.
Intrigued, I made a decision to look deeper into the model.
Whereas the shop itself could also be unmanned, there’s after all somebody behind this model. Adrian Ung, to be particular, who addressed himself because the model’s CEO and “Chief Kuli”.
Known as BFBW, or Books For A Higher World, Adrian and a accomplice integrated the enterprise in March 2022. BFBW apart, Adrian runs a enterprise administration consultancy, consulting for a contemporary produce firm, amongst others, whereas holding a place as its Group Business Director.
“We began out promoting books on-line in our private capability,” he mentioned. “It was extra of a pastime. We determined to open a bodily retailer as a result of we wished to do our bit in giving again to society.”
Retaining prices low with the unmanned mannequin
With two shops—one in Paradigm Mall and one in Amcorp Mall—BFBW options quite a lot of books, organised and labelled primarily based on writer or style.
Most books are priced at both RM5 or RM10, the usual numbers maintaining it straightforward for readers to pay in money, since there’s no cashier there to get you your change.
There are, after all, CCTVs within the retailer to discourage any attainable thefts.
This unmanned idea BFBW makes use of isn’t new. One other unmanned secondhand bookstore we’ve featured up to now is BUKU by PJ Preloved Home.
Clearly, this sort of system works nicely for used bookstores because it helps hold prices and costs down. This issue is particularly true for BFBW, which capabilities as a social enterprise.
Moreover, the startup capital got here from the pockets of Adrian and his enterprise accomplice, so maintaining overheads low is especially vital to him.
“Thus the modest furnishings in any respect our shops,” he added. “We figured that the much less we spend, the extra we will give, if you already know what I imply.”
With that mentioned, we discovered the furnishings to be fairly good, truly.
Different than simply minimising prices, although, Adrian shared that there’s another excuse why they went with the cashier-less system.
“As our two targets had been to advertise literacy and to advertise belief throughout the neighborhood, we felt it is a good approach to encourage belief and to indicate the world that Malaysia ‘memang boleh’.”
Citing the sources
Whereas secondhand books aren’t precisely arduous to seek out, with many Fb teams devoted to them, BFBW buys from and works with fairly a couple of giant organisations to supply their books. This isn’t simply because it’s handy, however slightly, it’s to assist these organisations’ charitable actions.
This consists of The Salvation Military, Kedai Bless, and Mother and father-With out-Companions.
“We do soak up donated books as a manner of saving them from the landfills, and these books go a good distance in serving to us attain the neighborhood in want,” he added.
Moreover, Adrian shared that organisations corresponding to Baker Hughes and CIMB run ebook campaigns as a part of their CSR programmes. At these occasions, their employees donates books, and these books are then given to BFBW.
After sorting the books by age group and style, accomplished by BFBW’s volunteers, a part of these books can be channelled accordingly to charitable organisations that want them.
Friends, not opponents
A fast Google search will present you that secondhand bookstores aren’t arduous to seek out. There’s BUKU by Preloved PJ Home, as identified earlier. One other secondhand enterprise we’ve featured is Dokusho Bookstore.
There are additionally plenty of people who checklist and promote their very own books on-line.
Nonetheless, Adrian isn’t significantly involved. “The market is sufficiently big for all of us, and we all know a lot of the preloved bookstore house owners, and generally we even meet up for a cuppa.”
To him, it’s a pleasant competitors. Plus, many of those second bookstores are for a very good trigger.
This appears to be very true for BFBW, which helps quite a lot of charities and organisations.
It donates to refugee studying centres in addition to works with some ADUNs (state meeting folks) in supporting their B40 neighborhood libraries and tuition centres.
BFBW additionally helps Persatuan Haiwan Malaysia, having pledged to contribute to them annually. Furthermore, it collaborates with Kiwanis Malaysia of their literacy programme and supplies an outdated folks’s residence with groceries frequently.
“The most important problem is to get devoted volunteers and till now we nonetheless wouldn’t have sufficient volunteers to assist out,” he shared. “Happily, we have now 5 devoted women who take turns in serving to us out.”
Getting volunteers is vital, although, as BFBW strives to proceed working with organisations to affect the neighborhood by reaching out to these in want.
Apart from that, Adrian mentioned the crew want to have a presence in each state to assist promote literacy to all Malaysians.
“We wish to encourage companies to do their half in impacting the neighborhood that we’re in,” Adrian mentioned. “We imagine that with the mixed effort of many, will we have the ability to create a much bigger affect. Because the saying goes, ‘it takes a village to lift a toddler’!”
- Be taught extra about Books For A Higher World right here.
- Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Books For A Higher World