Businessman and bookseller Abdul Thadha, owner of multi-million-pound company Books2Door and founder and managing director at the award-winning independent publisher Sweet Cherry Publishing. Sweet Cherry was founded in 2011 by Abdul.
From selling his used university textbooks to brand new books from a Leicester-based bargain store, Abdul's eBay store climbed the ranks so much so that he needed warehouse space. This blossomed into Books2Door.com, a multi-million-pound online bookselling platform that buys print runs from all major book publishers and sells to consumers, businesses and schools all around the world.
In an exclusive interview with Asian Voice, he spoke about changing the way we read and his success story.
Please share your success story with our readers. Starting from £3 and reaching where you are, did you ever imagine this kind of success?
You could say that I entered the world of bookselling almost by accident. I sold my used university textbooks on eBay, and, afterwards, stumbled across a bargain bookstore in Leicester that was selling brand new books (overstocks and remainders) for only £1. I ended up buying all three copies and sold them at full price online, making an impressive margin. This tiny investment led me to start Books2Door.com, which is now a multimillion-pound bookselling business, and award-winning children’s publisher, Sweet Cherry Publishing.
In a digital worldview, how do you keep your business going and make sure books are read by children?
Despite the digital world we live in, printed book sales are still going strong. Books give children a break from their screens and are a traditionally valuable tool for education. I was heavily inspired by my upbringing in Leicester and the community I was raised in. I didn’t have access to books growing up, and my lack of opportunity encouraged this desire to break down the socio-economic barriers that often get in the way of reading and limit children’s access to books. One of the ways we have hoped to achieve this is through my box-set business model offering children a whole library in one affordable purchase.
What was the impact of the pandemic on your business?
I was incredibly fortunate that my book businesses skyrocketed during the pandemic, despite being based in Leicester where COVID rates were among the highest and lockdowns among the longest in the UK. The demand for children’s books surged as schools turned to home learning and, with bookshops closed, online shopping became the only way to access books. Sales at Books2Door and Sweet Cherry Publishing reached an all-time high, and Sweet Cherry was awarded Small Press of the Year for its 2020 efforts.
What is the link between broadening business and finding opportunities?
Thinking creatively and thinking big offered new opportunities. Delegating tasks and responsibilities give managers and directors more time to consider and develop business strategy, and it’s no coincidence that my turnover doubled at the same time my team of staff did.
What is the future of book publishing according to you, post-pandemic?
The future of book publishing is bright and strong. Many people discovered a new enjoyment for reading during the pandemic, for different reasons, and that won’t leave them. For avid readers and book lovers, they discovered great value for money on popular and bestselling books online at Books2Door while bricks-and-mortar bookshops were closed, and given the economic climate we’re now in, value for money is a key driver for sales.
How have you helped publishers and businesses in selling books that may not have reached their target audience on their own?
Books2Door offers publishers of all sizes a great opportunity to reach millions of readers by bundling together a bestselling series or an author’s collection. Like Sweet Cherry, Books2Door aims to make access to books easy and affordable for all kinds of readers, striving to help publishers make access to reading inclusive of the diverse world we live in.