It's not uncommon to hear people lament about the falling standards of journalism in our country. Maitreyi Kandoi, a financial analyst, felt this way about existing publications and started Kindle, a monthly magazine designed for the progressive, conscious young Indian. We at YourStory spoke to Kolkata-based Maitreyi about how her journey with Kindle and her experience at the British Council's Young Publishing Entrepreneur Awards where she was one of the finalists. To know more about the Young Publishing Entrepreneur Awards, check outhttp://www.britishcouncil.org/india-arts-indian-young-publisher-of-the-year-award.htm. To follow the British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards on Facebook, click on http://www.facebook.com/YCEAwards.
Maitreyi, can you take us through how Kindle started?
I'm a CFA and I used to work as a day trader in the stock market. I was bored and I didn't think I was adding any value to the trade. I was extremely fond of reading right from childhood. I used to read magazines to unwind and when I looked around, I felt that young people were reading trash. And that was if they were reading at all. Under such circumstances, I wanted to start a magazine that would deliver reflective, thought-provoking journalism. That was the crux of the business idea. At around the same, I met my partner Pritha through a common friend. Pritha had worked with organizations like Hindustan Times and NDTV and was looking for a change. We hit it off very well, decided to take the leap and started Kindle. Today, she takes care of the editorial aspect of Kindle while I handle the business.
As a publication, how well is Kindle doing? How do you promote it?
The journey's been very fulfilling so far. Today, we have a circulation of about 5000 copies every month. Kindle is available across the country. But Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Siliguri and Bhubaneshwar are our stronger markets. To promote Kindle, we organize a number of on-ground activities in the form of literary events, workshops, etc. We tie up with colleges for their student festivals and we also conduct drama workshops, quizzes and debates. In addition, we've put together screenings of documentaries and an event called the Kindle Roundtable. We did this last year in Kolkata and the topic of discussion was "Pakistan, India & The Peace Process". We had people like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Farooque Sheikh coming in as panelists. It was a very successful event and we hope to make it an annual fixture with the participation of more such eminent speakers and thinkers. Considering that we are a serious magazine which endeavors to provide food for thought, we strongly believe that such events add most value to our brand.
Tell us about your experience at the YCE awards.
I got to know about the awards from a British Council representative. And I must say that it was an eye-opener of sorts. The four judges on the panel asked me extremely pointed and pertinent questions about our plans with respect to Kindle's growth and in turn, brought to our attention various factors that we had overlooked. Also, it was superb to meet other entrepreneurs as fellow contestants. After the YCE awards, our awareness levels are up and we've also been informed about a number of grants that we could apply for. Overall, we've gained immensely from our stint at YCE and if permitted, we'd like to apply again.
We at YourStory wish Maitreyi and Kindle all the very best. Please do share with us your thoughts and comments. You can write to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 1st February 2010 | Bangalore