“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
At DCKAP, we believe in the power of knowledge and reading. Our culture says, ” Readers are Leaders”. Our community lives by this mantra, as we have greatly benefited through reading. This is something we have continuously imparted to the fellow members of our community, and those who have the opportunity to work with us.
As a tech company, DCKAP always strives to learn and grow alongside the ecosystem where we thrive. To that effect, one such initiative we organized is Lit’s Meet. We undertook this initiative to collaborate with fellow readers, encourage them, and impart the importance of reading in order to make a positive impact.
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Keeping in mind the purpose of our initiative, we decided that the Chennai Book Fair would be the right platform to begin this positive venture. The Chennai Book Fair has embraced the reading community and the business ventures associated with books for the past 42 years. We found it to be the right platform to embrace our purpose, communicate our culture of reading, and create a footprint the very first year.
Sponsor @ Chennai Book Fair
It was a wonderful experience visiting the BAPASI office at GNT Road, Chennai for our discussion on stall sponsorship. The BAPASI administrative team were both eager and happy to have us there, being the very first technology company to opt for a stall at the Chennai Book Fair.
Starting off on such a unique note, we were lucky enough to get our booth at a prime location at the fair. We were the proud inhabitants of Stall #160 at the intersection of entrances into the book fair.
Initially, we had planned to be active participants on prime days and holidays, but our love for promoting the event and the wonderful response from the public lead us to be an active part of the entire event – all thirteen days of the 43rd Chennai Book Fair from January 9th to January 21st, 2020. Many people were constantly enquiring about our next event, which gave us all the more motivation and spirit to continue our reading initiative.
We hired several interns and volunteers who helped us to break through and make an impression at this massive event. It was an absolute delight to work with younger, energetic people that truly added value to our venture. I am proud to introduce our team members:
- Dr. Nadhirah Faiz, Dentist, Saveetha Medical College
- Dr. Geethika Babu, Dentist, Saveetha Medical College
- Shwetha Raja, Graphic Designer and Digital Marketing
- Aishwariya I. N, Fashion Designer
- Sanjana Chordia, Artist, MOP Vaishnav College
- Rohit Varma, Engineer, VIT
- Kaushik Siddharth, Engineer, VIT
Although our team was an amalgamation of people from a wide range of fields, we all were united in our motto to promote the importance of reading to the visitors of the 43rd Chennai Book Fair.
We brainstormed and came up with a community name, Lit’s Meet (The Literature’s Meet) with taglines “Readers are Leaders” and “Vanga Padikalam” (Let’s Read). Our motto was to provide a physical space where readers can flock together, communicate and grow together. We wanted to keep it really simple and strong, as a place where our culture of reading is easily communicated.
A huge thank you to Dr. Nadhirah Faiz and Dr. Geethika Babu for being with me from the initial set up until the last day. They came up with wonderful ideas and name suggestions for the community, and also helped in building our amazing team of interns. They believed in DCKAP, in our community and in me, which gave us all the strength to move forward.
Plans for a stall #160 and ” Little Free Library”
We came up with unique ideas to make sure Stall #160 stood out at the Chennai Book Fair. We had online contests, contests for children, our very own Little Free Library and Open Mic Sessions. We had a standout colourful photo booth, which was set up by Rohit Varma and Kaushik Siddharth and all the props and cutouts by Sanjana Chordia. Our young artist did all the hand-drawn banners whenever the situation required it, which garnered special attention from the crowd.
The Little Free Library is a Huge Hit: The “Book Sharing Booth”
Many people named our booth the book sharing/swapping booth for our unique initiative. We value reading, not the price of the book. We started our little library with 10 books (a meagre bag full of books) and colourful brochures designed by Shwetha Raja (with a big shout out to her) which were displayed on our very first day.
It’s amazing to know that we had over 300 books swapped. We were even given over 40 books from a single reader with only one book swap. A reader purchased a book out of his pocket and shared with us to support our cause. Whoever listened to us about our initiative, they appreciated what we were doing and shared the message with their friends and family. Many visited back again for more book sharing.
There were regular readers to our stall that visited every day to see our collections and to support us. There were authors who left their books for promotion and took ours to promote sharing in return. Co stall members visited our booth and donated some books. We had at least 5 members waiting before 11 AM in front of our booth to share books. Even the BAPASI admin told us that people were waiting outside our booth every day, and a lot of enquiries had been made on book sharing. It has been a challenge, but we love to see how much our initiative has grown in such a short period.
Online Presence and online readers community
We are active on all social channels – twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We started officially on Jan 4. We have around 268 followers on Instagram, 165 followers on Twitter, and 225 followers on Facebook as of 22 Jan 2020, in a span of just 17 days.
You can check Lit’s meet pages here:
Initially, we gained traction for the booth merely through social platforms. People visited our stall after seeing all our promotional banners across our social platforms. We kept our platforms active and engaging by posting various discussions, conducting online contests, and updating our booth happenings daily. Big hats off to the digital marketer of our community, Shwetha Raja, for handling our social platforms so gracefully. Thank you, to our designer Rupendran R, who created our colourful and brilliant posters.
The Real Picture
We started on January 9th @ 3pm, and the response was really good. The traction from the first couple of days was made by the colourful photo booth. Children were the first visitors and there on, they brought in their parents, who loved the concept and it became viral over the next few days.
We benefited from our volunteers who took care of the booth on a rotational basis to post their regular professional work. I would like to thank our complete team, Aishwariya, Sanjana, Rohit, Kaushik, Nadhira, Geethika and Shwetha Raja, who travelled along with me during this awesome journey. It’s great to know that we have such an amazing team to support us throughout the future.
Media and Promotions
The media has been extremely supportive of this initiative and we would like to wholeheartedly thank them. Our first media shoot was on January 10th by the News 7 channel, which went on the air on January 11th.
We greatly benefited from the news platform, and even more, people started coming to our booth after seeing us on television. From January 10th on, every day we had at least one interview from the media and reporters who were searching for our booth, which had become a great hit.
The Dinamalar interview created great traction and people started sharing the event through Whatsapp. Post this, we also got coverage with eminent newspapers like Indhu Tamil and Times of India. One of the best parts has been knowing people have been able to identify us by our faces and our logo, which is a great achievement.
Here are some of the media coverages we got featured in:
Chennai Cafe and Books Meetup group
John Hansel, the organizer of the online reader’s community, supported our event and hosted a meeting in our booth on January 19, 2020. He supported our cause and we appreciated his contribution of books for the fellow readers.
People Support and Love
In retrospect, every day we had 200+ visitors at our stall, a minimum of 15 readers that swapped their books, and 25 + books that got swapped each day. 25 children took advantage of the free children’s books, and we had over 100 enquiries about our initiative and any future events.
We will be back soon! Meanwhile, follow us on our social media channels and continue supporting us. We have even more interesting things planned for the near future.
Thank you everyone, for all your love and support! A special ‘Thanks’ to the DCKAP Team and our CEO Karthik Chidambaram, the man behind this initiative.
PS: So, What’s next?
Lit’s meetup “ Little Free Library” will be part of all probable upcoming book fairs.. We will surely work on our takeaways from this initiative and spread the love of reading!
Honestly, we are motivated and will surely come back with a bang! Afterall, Lit’s Meet is not wrapping-up… it’s just beginning…