Building a Paradise For Book Nerds
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As bibliophiles with a dynamic entrepreneurial flair, Rohan Raj and his wife Neha love connecting book lovers from across the planet. In 2015, they launched Booknerds, a free book discussion community where the duo reads and discusses fiction and non-fiction books, makes book recommendations, hosts live chats, and interviews leading authors.
What began as a passion project between the two in the quaint town of Dehradun, India in the foothills of the Himalayas has now morphed into a global community of bookworms across the Indian continent and other parts of the world.
“To connect book lovers across the globe and bring the best content from the world of books through their book recommendation videos, book club events, podcasts, live sessions and so much more.”
Rohan brings tech skills along with a deep passion for books while Neha is a stickler for the aesthetic and organizational aspects of the venture. When they are not lost in a page-turner or working feverishly to serve their growing community, you can find them playing with their kids or searching for the next cool venue for an upcoming book club session.
“Great Books, Great Minds” recently had the opportunity to chat with Rohan about the evolution of Booknerds, its primary audience, along with its hopes for the future.
Tell us a little about your life journey and what led you and your wife to launch Booknerds
Me and my wife, co-founder, Neha Raj, to who I’ve been married for 7 years launched Booknerds. Back in 2015, we were looking to solve a problem that had been eating at us for a while. In short, we wanted to connect readers and authors like never before using our expertise in tech, arts, design, literature, and community building.
We started by building an offline community in the quaint town of Dehradun, India in the foothills of the Himalayas, which is in the vicinity of the amazing author Ruskin Bond( he resides in Landour, Mussoorie). Slowly by using technology we were able to reach out wider. Now our team of 15 book crazies creates some amazing book content like book recommendation videos, podcasts, book reels and so much more...
Who is Booknerds primarily directed towards? And what are your audience demographics?
Booknerds is for everyone who loves to read fiction or nonfiction.
In fact, that is what we wanted to change! We feel if, as a reader, one restricts themselves to a few genres, you are missing out on learning from so many books out there!
Anyone can join our community and we don’t restrict ourselves to a particular genre. With having organized over 300 + offline and online sessions, everything from children's books to crime novels has been discussed.
Also, if you are an author, you can showcase your books with us!
How did you personally develop such an obsession with books?
Like most Millenials, the starting point of my obsession with the written word growing up was with comic books. From Phantom to DC to regional iconic Indian comic book characters, the passion was ignited in me. To this day, I still love Graphic Novels and Comic Books. But quite honestly, I read everything under the sun and prefer a well-written book!
What are your favorite genres?
I must confess that I have a soft corner for fiction:) I have around 5000 books in my collection and find it hard to keep them all sorted. It seems like I’m adding a new bookshelf every year [laughter]
Describe a few of the books you have read recently
I am reading Atomic Habits by James Clear ( had to give in to the hype) along with “The Map and the Scissors” by Amit Majmuda. The latter is about two men Gandhi and Jinnah who changed the course of South Asian history!
Finally, what is your greatest visionary hope in terms of your work with Booknerds?
Creating a thriving worldwide community of book lovers who can share their love for reading, create content, engage with their favorite authors in intimate literary experiences, and even get paid for reading and writing is what drives us at Booknerds to keep working harder!