Interview with Antoinette Walker, Co-Founder of The Chaptr

The Chaptr is an exciting new monthly book subscription box and book club rolled into one that is launching this week! Today, we talk to The Chapter’s co-founder, Antoinette Walker about where the idea came from, how The Chaptr works, and what else we can expect from this new venture.

 

THE INTERVIEW

Tell us about your self.

I was the kid who read everything in sight.  Cereal boxes were some of my very first “books”.  I developed a love of reading early on and never shook it (thankfully).  My love affair with books was no doubt ignited by an incredible first grade teacher, Ms. Peele. Like many of us, adulting shifted priorities, and reading for pleasure got pushed further and further down on the list.  But the love was always there, just below the surface.  I started being intentional about making time to read, and I was immediately reminded of why I fell in love with reading in the first place.  I feel incredibly lucky to 

What is The Chaptr and why did you start it? 

The best way that I can describe us is that we deliver the ultimate monthly book subscription box and book club experience in one.  We bridge together the convenience of a book subscription box with the camaraderie of a book club.  

Basically, I craved the fellowship with other readers throughout the entire journey of reading a book. The Chaptr was born from that craving.  

The desire to connect over interests you share with others is natural.  We enjoy connecting in real time because our experiences are enhanced when we can share them with others.  Think about it.  We watch movies together.  See plays together.  Listen to music together.  But, reading books is, for the most part, a solitary activity.  You read the book, enjoy it (…or not enjoy it) and move on.  In all fairness, in traditional book clubs, you discuss the book, but not until you have finished the book.  But, what about as you are reading? What about when you get to that insane plot twist or when you finally connect all the clues the author has left along the way?  Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out to someone who is reading the book at the same time? So, when you say ‘Can you believe that just happened?’, you get other readers’ raw, unfiltered, real-time reaction? Growing a book community where these real-times discussions are what drive us at The Chaptr.

What is included in your box? 

Our box includes a contemporary book as well 2-3 other curated items to compliment your reading experience or simply get you in a relaxing mood to read.  This may include drinks to sip on, cocktail/mocktail recipes, journals and candles, just to name a few.  

We see the value in our The Chaptr’s box as being the contents of the box as well as our ability to connect you with a community of fellow book lovers so we can all nerd out together.  We are especially excited about our online social platform.  Access to the platform comes with your book box subscription.  Our platform is similar to some of the large social media sites, except that ours is exclusively for our members and other book lovers, which allows you to block out the usual notice of social media and engage only with fellow readers.  In the platform, you can set up a user profile, post pictures, polls, gifs, updates, engage in live chats and virtual events, chat with other subscribers and so much more. The platform allows you to share in the book box experience with others and swap ideas, perspective and stories surrounding not just the book of the month, but all things literary-related.  We integrate social media into our reading experience in a way that promotes meaningful engagement between readers and enriches, not detracts from, the reading experience.  

How does The Chaptr choose the monthly book selections ?

Like any community, we value input from members, which is why our members vote on and ultimately decide, our book of the month selections.  

In addition to the book box and online platform, what else can we expect from The Chaptr?

  • An engaging community specifically for literature lovers.  That means, at each step, we are asking ‘What will make this experience better for readers?’ ‘How can we connect readers in ways that are meaningful?’
  • Leveraging books as a means to open ourselves up to new perspectives.  As we experience other readers’ perspectives on a particular plot, character description or protagonist’s journey, our own reading journey becomes more dynamic.  We love that diversity of thought and experiences and seek to amplify those conversations.   
  • Exclusive content designed to spark thought-provoking conversations.  We have some amazingly talented writers from varied backgrounds that we work with to bring you original and engaging content through our weekly articles.  You can view our library of articles at The Chaptr Narrative, where we share our thoughts on all things literary-related.  

Talk about one book that had an impact on you. 

When I was young, I remember reading Omar Tyree’s Flyy Girl.  It is the coming of age story of a young girl navigating the normal trials and tribulations of school, friends and boys.  Flyy Girl had a profound impact on  me, as the characters leapt off the page and reminded me of myself or people I knew.  The way the author was able to accurately describe the feelings, insecurities and pressures from that period of life still amazes me.  It was the first time I saw myself reflected in a book and it really opened my eyes to the true value of masterful storytelling. 

How can readers learn more or subscribe?

Check out thechaptr.com or follow us online on Instagram or Twitter!

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Ehsaneh Sadr is an Iranian-American novelist and activist with a PhD in International Relations. She has worked, in various capacities, on campaigns related to Palestinian human rights, Iranian sanctions, access to credit for rural villagers, and safe spaces for children in crisis. She currently works with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to create the cultural and infrastructure changes needed to support a shift away from carbon-based modes of transportation. Ehsaneh currently lives in Northern California with her husband and two children but also considers Washington DC, Salt Lake City, and Tehran to be home.