Books & Beyond’s Chief Curator, Papiya Banerjee, in conversation!

Hello Papiya. Thank you so much for agreeing to talk to BUZZ Magazine.As we mentioned before, we were really intrigued by Books n Beyond. What gave you the inspiration to start it?

I am a Voracious reader and I am always looking for Books to read. 3 years ago an Idea struck me, what if we get Boxes of Books delivered to us every month? The Joy of opening a Gift Box which is full of Innovative Goodies and a Very Good Book to read, won’t it save so much time researching which book to read? This ‘need’ of reading good books, one after the other, compelled me to start Books n Beyond.

Was the literary subscription box already an ‘in-thing’ in India when you started?

From Books And Beyond IG

Not at all. I wasn’t even aware of any Indian Brands doing anything remotely like what we started. It was a huge FAD in US and UK and the inspiration behind Books n Beyond totally came from there.

What is your favourite part as the Chief Curator?

Oh the Books. I get to read books, research for them, have discussions about them and so on and so forth. Though I love curating all the Things which goes into the Book Box or our Shop, the primary thing I love is READING first and then imagining ways to bring the book/quotes to life.

Was there any particular subscription box that you truly enjoyed putting together?

Ahh, its like asking a mother, who is your Favourite child?? I love them all. There is a lot of hardwork which goes into creating each and every box. We work for Months at a stretch in making a Book Box come to life, so every Box I curate is as dear to me as the other.

What do you think attracts users to subscribe to literary book boxes?

The fact that we bring the New International releases and that too in Hardcovers, and very cost effective too when you combine all the Merchandise which is Exclusively created for that Box. 3 years ago India hardly did any International Fiction Hardcovers (at least not in the YA category) we have changed that.

Your love for books and all things books is evident in the work you do. Did you have a favourite story growing up?

Oh I loved Enid Blytons. As a kid, I was always encouraged to read by my Parents. I have read all the Enid Blyton stories and Nancy Drews. I totally adored them. When i was a young Adolescent, i was introduced to Sidney SHeldon, who still remains my favorite author.

Did the books you read as a child and as a teenager in any way influence any of the boxes that you’ve curated so far?

I am a dreamer by birth and the books i read were all Fantasy, and till today I am attracted to Fantasy as a Moth to light. So you can say it definitely influences me even today, as most of my Book Boxes surround Fantasy Storyline.

Also — can we please know how many unique boxes have been curated by Books n Beyond so far?

We started in 2017 and we curated almost 1 box every month so we have curated around 40 unique themed Book Boxes till date. We have sent over 15,000+ Book Boxes till date.

Is there anyone else besides you, who helps with the smooth running of Books n Beyond?

Oh yes, I have my partner, Pankaj who is the main man behind all the designs for Books n Beyond. He is the creative key. I have a Social Media Expert on team and I have a packing and logistics assistant.

We know you’ve been teasing the contents for the May book box a lot. Could we possibly get a sneak peek into it?

May Book Box as in the Shakespeare Box? With all the timelines hayward these days, I suppose you meant that. Well, we haven’t really disclosed anything yet, but there’s a Big Fabric Item coming in the box and its very Pastel in colour. That’s all you are getting out of me at this moment.

We noticed that you’ve launched your own YouTube channel. What kind of content should one expect from it?

Ah yes, the You Tube Channel. You Know I love this community, people are so helpful and so kind. They wanted Book recommendations, unboxings and DIY’s, also peak inside our Studio, and YT is where we will be uploading those videos. There will be a lot of PERSONAL Book recommendations as well. Watch out for them.

How does one sign up to receive one of these lovely book boxes for the month?

We curate Niche Book Boxes. We have stopped making a Monthly Book Box per se, but we do it, when we find that Perfect Book to suit a perfect theme. Please follow us on our Social Media channels, Instagram, Facebook, YT, Twitter where we announce the Book Boxes and other details. We also encourage people to subscribe to our Newsletter (which is available for sign up on our website) We first send the information for Bookings to our Newsletter Subscribers.

And last question before we — in case some misses a box they really, really want — is there any way to get that?

I am afraid no. It pains me to say so, but our boxes always have limited numbers. We do small batches of boxes (in Hundreds and not thousands) so that we can give better attention to detail on each box and once its Sold Out, its gone forever.

Do you have any message for our readers — who people are usually people as madly in love with the world of books as we are.

Keep Reading. Books have the ability to transport you to different worlds. It provides solace; it entertains and widens your perspective. As Stephen King would say “Books are a uniquely portable Magic” . Let Books inspire you. Be Kind and Stay Safe.

Thank you so much for talking to us. We really appreciate it.

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