The two founders of »Bookserf«, Erbil (middle) and Kerem (right) are from Istanbul. They are not only best friends, but also neighbours. Because both of them read a lot, they borrowed books from one another. When that wasn’t enough, they brought Cihan (left), a qualified librarian, on board and founded »Bookserf«.
Book lovers add their books to »Bookserf« or take out books from other members. After the great success in Turkey, these men from Istanbul presented their project in Europe.
How do you get people excited about Bookserf?
It’s not just about books at Bookserf. We bring the people behind the book-covers together. Often, the same people prefer the same authors and genres. People only realize this when they meet each other. We want to connect with Berliners. After meeting in person, people know more about one another. Cool conversations can result. Apart from a love of reading material and the networking possibilities, Bookserf is quite a thrifty way to save money. Sharing is free and brings members together. We think that this free of charge culture and openness for new things is typical for a pluralized city like Berlin
Considering your first impressions: What is your feeling on the book lovers in Berlin?
If one were to judge residents by the quality of their bookstores in their city, then the residents of Berlin are first class readers!
That is a perfect transition to our next question: »As the book, so the owner?« What does a book really say about the reader?
Quite a bit! This assertion is usually true, and, not only for the residents of Berlin. Each member uploads a pretty personal selection of books. With this, everyone involved gets a glimpse of your private bookshelf. Let’s say that someone is professionally involved in design or style: there are usually very visually attractive books on their shelves, many art or photography books. The Bookserfers see this and assume: »Oh wow, you have this book? Then maybe you have another one in this series…« This is how the opportunity arises to read rare books or whole trilogies without having to see them collecting dust on a shelf afterwards. And then you can talk to someone else about what you have read.
Why should readers choose Bookserf when there are libraries?
Libraries are big and have a huge selection. The reader borrows a book and then goes home. It remains so anonymous. And even a librarian can only very rarely give the reader personal information about the book.
We want to change this situation with Bookserf. We have more or less built a network of libraries with our project. The Bookserfers compare experiences or recommend books. Based on their books, friendships can also come into being or people can actually get together. These are great experiences.
You founded Bookserf with the goal in mind of bringing the people behind the books together. This all has to be organized. How do you organize this?
We do everything manually. It is hard and time-consuming; but it is fun. Right now, we are working on a new way to upload book collections. The communication between members takes place via Facebook.
What do book lovers have to do to join you?
They have to visit our website where they will find an online form: www.bookserf.com. Filling out the form only takes ten minutes! The future Bookserfers have to take pictures of eight books that they would like to lend to people. In addition, we need a profile picture and a picture of a part of their bookshelf. These are sent to us by email and we upload everything. They can also write a few sentences about their books. Bookserfers in Germany should be aware that no German-language books can be lent out. In the end, we don’t want to impede the selling of German books. Interesting, rare and foreign-language books are particularly attractive to Bookserf.
What future projects to you have? What are your next goals?
Coming up, we are also going to present Bookserf in Dubai. It’s going to be very interesting. Also, we are starting up the »Paper Project«. Everyone can participate in this project. You take a piece of paper and draw or paint something on it. This small work of art will be shown in a variety of cities and the people who see it can contact the artist. It’s not about the money, for us. We just want to bring people together on many levels. It’s worked well so far. For this reason, we’re calling on readers:
R e a d B o o k s ! S h a r e B o o k s!