Grand bookstore in Istanbul allocates all profits to strays
Ece Çelik – ISTANBUL
A newly opened 600-square-meter bookstore in Istanbul’s Şişli district offers 30,000 books to its customers with a promise to spend all of its profits to animal shelters and cover the medical needs of stray animals.
The aim of the Kitap (Book) Koala project is to sell books to contribute to the intellectual level of society and to create a fund to support the medical needs of the stray animals in the meantime, according to a staff member of the bookstore.
“Kitap Koala was founded as a result of a childhood dream. It was an idea of an ambulance responding to wounded and helpless stray animals. When we realized that it would not be sustainable through donations, we turned it to a social enterprise model,” said operations director Selinay Şahin.
They have created a nationwide network of animal rights volunteers, she added.
“When the volunteers notice an animal in need, they inform us. We cover all the treatment expenses. Besides, we have applied the practice of suspended animal food. We send animal shelters animal food in an amount of at least 225 kilograms,” said Şahin.
As part of the practice, it is planned to send animal food to individual volunteers who feed stray animals in their locality, according to Kitap Koala’s website.
They also offer suspended books for at least 20 Turkish Liras ($3.3) to provide books to school libraries and students in need.
“We also dream of opening an animal clinic. We want to open an animal shelter afterwards. Above all, we wish to prove that such a business model can create social benefits without any donations or sponsorships,” said Şahin.
Kitap Koala announces the names of its volunteers, the contacts of the veterinary clinics in which animals were treated and the total costs with the dates. So far, a total of over 28,500 liras ($4,690) were spent for treatments in 41 incidents between June 2018 and February 2020, according to the website.
Granted animal foods and books are also listed transparently.
Moreover, the financial balance sheets of 2018 and 2019, the period when Koala Kitap was selling books only online, are also available on its website in a bid to show that all profits are conveyed to the areas declared.
The cafe and meeting rooms of Kitap Koala can be booked for celebration parties and trainings.