Bhubaneswar: Satabdi S, co-founder of Walking Bookfairs, a bookstore in Bhubaneswar, who has travelled more than 35,000 kilometre in the last seven years, has accused social media giant Facebook of stealing her concept in one of their advertisements without her consent.
Taking to her social media handle, Satabdi said:
“Hi! I am Satabdi. I have been driving around India, in a bookmobile, for the last seven years. In the 35,000 km that I have driven my bookmobile, not one day has been without struggles. I have been detained in police stations for hours in the middle of jungles, faced rape and murder threats by goons of local politicians who own schools and universities, gone hungry and thirsty without a place to sleep, almost gotten myself killed on the highways of India – all because I drive that bookmobile, taking books to people.”
“In all these years, not once have I come across anything or anyone you show in your ad – no Dhara, no people offering me tempos, no people who turn it magically into a bookmobile, no romantic pond side locations, absolutely nowhere you can park a bookmobile as you please, and no people who just turn up in hundreds to read books. Nope,” she added.
“I AM the only woman in this country that drives a bookmobile and it takes hard, back breaking work to do anything like that. Facebook does NOT get you there. The only thing i see in this ad is how you stole my life’s work, erased all the struggles, glossed it over and made a highly unrealistic, bad tv commercial,” she wrote.
“Walking Bookfairs and other real, independent bookstores and booksellers in India have to fight for survival each day and continue to face an uncertain future while you spend huge money to make idiotic ads that you claim are going to reignite the love for books and inspire people!,” she stressed.
“What will actually create any change is if you stop stealing from us and grow a spine and actually support real people who are doing real work in the real world. Shame on you Facebook and everybody involved in the making of this ad,” she concluded.
Satabdi received support from many of her regular buyers and social media enthusiasts.
Sriram Singh Rattan, a regular at Satabdi’s bookstore, said: “Advertising is about positivity, spreading the right message and acknowledging people’s struggle and the success thereafter. Nowhere has it been written that you can’t highlight true heroes or true stories of an honest idea bringing about a slow change or a revolution if I may stretch it. Though reading is an art long gone from India, yet encouraging people to read books, distributing books for free, giving people a sense of belonging by travelling around with books of all sorts for people to read or opening the doors of one’s establishment not for profit, but for the love of books and a dedicated Free Library is something to reckon with. Shameless copying by one of the biggest corporations in the whole wide world shows that the words in the ad film are as hollow as the people who ideated.”