Hello, booktruck!

Ratastega Raamatud booktruck is the first mobile bookshop in Estonia. It's definitely not the first one in the world but a it's a rather new concept nevertheless.
So how was this idea born, you ask? Great question!
My name is Annette, the founder of Ratastega Raamatud, and a big admirer of books. To me books are sacred - they should be cared for, looked after, and what's most important - they should be read!
Daisy Chain Book Co.
I had a dream to one day open my very own bookshop. I wanted something a little different. Rahva Raamat and Apollo already exist, I wanted something small and adorable.
Sleeping has never been an issue for me but in May 2021 I had one terribly sleepless night. And what does a 20 something so when she can't sleep? Scrolling social media of course!
This time, however, I came across an Instagram page (@daisychainbookco), where I saw a photo of a booktruck in Canada. That was my big 'WOW' moment. I knew instantly that this was what I wanted. And that's how the idea was born.

From idea to reality

For a while, the idea stayed just that - an idea. I didn't know where to star and to be honest, I was afraid. Me, a van driver? Pick up a side project in addition to my day job? Where will I get all this time and money?
 22 July 2021 was a gorgeous summer evening and I went to my friend Kätlyn's place for a glass of wine. I told her about the idea, showed photos and spoke about the dream. Turns out dreaming out loud with your friends can lead to very practical solutions. Käts proposed that this idea would be perfect for a project on Hooandja (an Estonian crowdfunding page). It's a project that promotes cultural advancement and is a new concept for many people, why not give it a go. Thanks, Käts!
A few months pass again because once again, where do I start? I have nothing but an idea, how do I convince people to support me?
Käts and I (and Käts' adorable dog Paco) decided to create a promotional video to introduce the idea, and that's how I was able to get the project live on Hooandja. Within a couple of months we had managed to raise the necessary amount to purchase the van. Thank you to all the supporters!

Renovating the van 

We're not dealing with a brand new van so the first thing was to get it checked. And oh the surprise - an impressive bill for things that needed fixing! No matter, as long as the van's ready to roll safely.
I had a clear vision of what the van should look like - homely, inviting, warm, vintage. In my mind's eye I saw a small seating area.
The main person who helped renovate the van was my father. He had always had a dream of building a camper van but until now, the dream hadn't come true. Building the booktruck was kind of like making this dream come true, or at least close enough.
I created sketches and blueprints of what I envisioned. Luckily I have a very creative and resourceful dad so very quickly he came up with tasteful solutions for the ceiling, walls and shelves. We added a solar panel on the roof. But let me tell you, it was not easy.
There was a shortage of building materials at the time, with prices very high and inventories empty. We never received the generator for the solar panel. Time was ticking and the opening event was just around the corner...
The renovations took a couple of months and we didn't actually manage to finish the van for the first season. That's ok though. Books are more important!
While the van was being renovated, I was busy collecting books. Ratastega Raamatud sells mainly used book through donations. To be able to sell anything, we had to start asking and picking up donated books. Today, I'm happy to say that we have over 2000 books in our inventory. All of them don't even fit in the van!

Opening event and first summer

The doors to our booktruck officially opened on the 1st July 2022. We celebrated with an opening event where people got to visit the shop and buy books. There was an improv theatre performance by kIMPROose and some snacks. What an awesome event that was!
The day before the opening event we were still in the middle of renovations and didn't finish before close to midnight. All the books found their places on the shelves at 6am on the day of the opening event. Better late than never, right.
The very next day, on the 2nd July, we were on our way to our first event - SetoFolk. We set off very early in the morning towards Setomaa to spend a great day at the festival, introducing the van officially to the public. Such a proud moment!
In July, we took part of Võnge Festival. In august, we visited Õunaaia Improõhtu in Haapsalu and in autumn we spent a couple of Sundays at Mängutänavad in Tallinn. The first season was relatively calm as we focused on getting the name Ratastega Raamatud to people, and allowing the time for some promotion.
The 2023 season will be more eventful. You can keep an eye on our doings on our website or on social media pages. See you soon!
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