Owners of locally-based online bookstores and book subscription services say they are able to cater to parents’ wants and needs for their children because they too encountered the same challenges.
Mrs Melissa Lee, 35, (pictured) co-founded Owl Readers Club last July together with her husband and two other families.
“We wanted to make it hassle-free for parents to get good books for their children. This way, they don’t even need to step out of their homes,” says the mother of two children aged three and one.
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A high five-figure sum was spent setting up the business, and she says she is happy with its progress so far.
The Club has about 350 member sign-ups to date and carries close to 200 titles.
One of Mrs Lee’s co-founders is Ms Jiang Meiru, 35, a former junior college Chinese teacher and mother of two.
Ms Jiang is also the founder of Flip For Joy, which she started in 2011 with a high four-figure sum after discovering that local bookstores then carried a limited variety of Chinese books.
The 200 titles that she stocks come from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and, without revealing figures, she says that book sales are “healthy”.
Apart from online sales, she has also supplied her books to pre-schools here and helped them to build a good Chinese library.
For parents who do not have the time to select the books they want online, there are book subscription services based here such as Josh & Cherie and Flying Books to help them.
Book subscription service Flying Books is the brainchild of Brazilian Nicole Martins, 34. The monthly, three-month and six-month plans cost from $34.50 to $216.90.
The expatriate started the business in April last year simply because she wanted to share the love of reading with other parents here.
She carries “a few hundred” English books targeted at pre-schoolers.
She says sales have been “good” and that many of her clients are Singaporeans.
“They appreciate that I bring in a wide variety of books and curate the books such that they would be suitable for the ages of their children,” says the mother of two.
Parents tell The Sunday Times that while borrowing books from libraries does not cost money, they do not mind spending money buying books.
Mrs Lim says: “Some books are worth spending money on because good books are worth owning and reading again and again.”
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times
(Photos: The Straits Times)