Manpreet Kaur is a first-generation BookTuber. With her channel, The Indian BookTuber, of over 52k subscribers, she brings to her audience, Indian writers; with the sole aim of promoting reading as an activity. A book reviewer, she has collaborated with Srushti, Penguin, Harper Collins, Westland, and Fingerprint Publishing in India, to promote books by India’s foremost publishing houses. As part of her Author’s Spotlight, she has interviewed renowned Indian authors like Kevin Missal and has helped promote Indie published authors. Her recognitions include a feature in Times Of India (Chandigarh), The Hindu, Asian Age (Delhi), Indian Express, and the Social Samosa- Harper Broadcast. We had a chance to speak with Manpreet about what she is known for, her “Booktubing” journey.
Questions and answers
Talk to us about your relationship with books. When did it all start?
My relationship with books started way back in school. There was this novel called Adventures of Tom Sawyer as part of our school curriculum. We were asked to write summaries and fill up passages in a workbook. When my teacher would read those passages written by me, she’d applaud my work. She was one of the first people to recognize my passion for reading and writing and suggested that I pick up a book and read. From there, there was no turning back. I was already in love with reading.
When did the idea of the BookTube come about?
When I was in college, I had this itch to start a Youtube channel. The only problem was that my interests and the trends back then didn’t go hand in hand. So, I decided to create something different, and I went ahead and opened a Youtube channel. But it was all about books and reading!
There’s this stereotype that says reading is plainly for introverts. What is your take on that?
I believe that reading is an incredible source of escapism— to somehow, temporarily, let go of your worries and the monotonous state of life. It is also a gateway to finding mentors and attaining an innumerable amount of knowledge. Now, these are things that are required by both extroverts and introverts. Everybody is just a book away from falling in love with reading. They could be of any personality.
You have a series called author spotlight. Can you talk to us about it— how did the idea happen, and what is the process of selecting the author?
Every idea that I’ve had forms itself in this dreamy state of mind when I look for something to break the rut and perhaps could also be useful for my viewers. The Indian Booktuber started with the prioritization of Indian Literature and telling people about it. My motto behind Author Spotlight was to introduce more and more people to Indian authors and their works. The criteria are simple— just any Indian Author who has written more than seven books.
We got to know that you are learning French and have been reading a lot too in the language. How difficult is it when there’s no one else speaking the same language- to master it?
When there is Youtube and the Internet, one can find anybody speaking the same language. One can utilize it to their benefit by watching Youtube videos in the language to be learned, education channels, movies, and so many more! In the beginning, it gets to you, watching something that you have so little understanding of, but the challenge was something I adored.
Give us five simple tips of learning an entirely new language
1. Understand and learn the structure of how you are going to proceed with learning. Don’t just run behind vocabularies.
2. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more time you spend on it, the easier it gets.
3. Relate whatever you learn to the language you know the best. Learning in that sense helps you remember the words better.
4. Read, write, listen, and speak the language daily.
5. Learning a language comes from need. If you don’t love it, you won’t be able to embrace it.
As a BookTuber, what are the challenges and pressures that follow? Could you address them and how you get through such phases?
The most significant pressure I have as a BookTuber is missing a daily post. I have to run through the schedule. Every video that goes up on the channel takes tonnes of research and lots and lots of hours of reading. I do that 2-3 times a week, by making time out of my full-time job, and that is the main struggle. To cope with that kind of pressure, I have decided to treat myself kindly. I know I have a responsibility towards my audience, and hence, I may be judged by them as well. But nothing in the world is more important than your well-being. So always make sure to prioritize that!
Talk to us about Finix Post. You already are a BookTuber. What inspired you to venture into blogging?
I began my journey as a blogger. And then, eventually, slipped into BookTubing. FinixPost was my earlier blog. I started it back during college. I just somehow wanted to share my experiences with the world, and so began to blog about it.
How does a Reading Vlog go? Does it scare you that it may be tedious to be “content-less”? What do you do to make it more enjoyable?
I can’t imagine why anyone would like a reading vlog. I have a daily vlog channel called LifeOfManpreet, and it seems more sensible to watch something like that. It still stuns me that people watch them. I started reading blogs just to share my views on books that I read. Over time, I found it to be repetitive, but the audience loves it! If I do not post reading vlogs, they keep asking for it. And so it is about delivering what the audience likes. And so, there is no such thing as contentless when the audience loves it.
What suggestions would you give to young BookTubers who want to walk the same path as you?
If you are aiming to make money, then I would say stop right away and turn back around. BookTubing doesn’t help earn a decent living at all. But if you love books and have a passion for sharing your reading experience. To grow consistently, do it regularly for a year, at least.
Can you help us and break the myth of Bookstagram? Talk to us about its art. How does one create a concept?
To be honest, I am not as good as other bookstagrammers. They are way ahead of what I do with my posts. The very concept of bookstagramming has to do with the creative aspect of photographing books. And some people do a fabulous job. They deserve so much more respect in the blogging world.
Which authors have inspired you— not just as a reader, but a youngster?
I have had so much inspiration from a few of the most impeccable works by authors, an author himself/herself inspiring me?— it will have to be Ashwin Sanghi. He’s an incredibly successful businessman, yet writes so many books, purely out of the joy for it.
Since you read expansively, we were wondering if you write anything? If yes, do you plan to bring it out to the light of day?
think when one reads so much, one gets the itch to write. And yes, I do write. I also hope and plan to be a published author very soon.
What are the elements that turn you off in a book?
As an avid reader, by now, I can figure out the amount of hard work that has gone into writing a book. One can always tell if the author has never read any books or not, or if the author didn’t care to make drafts. So to come to the point, the visible Lack of Dedication & Hard Work in the book turns me, and I guess every real reader off. As a BookTuber, I have confirmed my theories many times. The reason these elements put off my interest is that as readers, we spend time and money on their efforts and art. And so, they must bear the responsibility to deliver the best they can.
Give us five titles that every Non-Reader should read.
A non-reader would always prefer something more comfortable to read, but also something that they connect to or have an interest in. So the titles below may or may not fit every mew reader, but here you go—
1. 84 by Satya Vyas— A Hindi Romance Novel
2. Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins— Dystopian Fiction
3. Eleventh Hour by S. Hussain Zaidi— A Thriller Novel
4. Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni— Mythological Fiction
5. 13 Steps series by Ashwin Sanghi— Non-Fiction Books
Favorite Genre to Read– Fantasy
Favorite Book to TV Show– Can’t say
Favorite Book to Film– Harry Potter Series
Favorite Writer of All Time– I haven’t made up my mind yet about this.
Favorite BookTuber (apart from you)– Jesse The Reader