Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
What makes a 35-something with no publishing background an expert on a book blog? In this case it’s the result of a couple of little people, Mia (6) and Chase (3) and a thirst for technology, which put me on the path to becoming founder of zuuka (iStoryTime), one of the most well known producers of interactive children’s book apps and eBooks in the world.
Zuuka, at the ripe old age of almost 4 years old, was one of the world’s first developers of children’s book apps and ebooks. As silly as that sounds (I often tell people we’re the oldest kid on the monkey bars), one must remember that four years ago apps essentially didn’t exist, and ebooks were new, questionable, black and white only affairs. At that time, there really was no such thing as a children’s eBook market. But we wanted one.
As a dad I was tired of carrying a separate bag of books (dad’s are lazy) for my daughter every time we went out to dinner, on a road trip, etc., but there were no other options for children’s books. Then along came the iPhone. The iPhone for all its amazing features has an almost magical ability to attract the attention of little eyes and fingers. If you’ve ever tried to take one away from a 3 year old you know exactly what I mean.
The problem was that once those eyes were attracted, the only content, available at the time, for them were movies and video games. Not that I have anything against video games and movies, in moderation, but I like books and I think reading is good for kids.
As a parent I didn’t want to give my kids content that wasn’t my first choice just because it was convenient. What I wanted was content that was engaging to my kids, convenient and didn’t make me feel guilty. From that iStoryTime was born.
Since then a lot has changed, there is now an unbelievable amount of amazing digital content for kids, we’ve published nearly 300 products, have had 11 No. 1 book titles, work with incredible companies, including DreamWorks, Sony, HarperCollins, Smurfs, PBS and Jim Henson, across six platforms (iOS, Amazon Apps, B&N Apps, B&N Books, iBooks) and feel like things are just getting started. I’ve never been more excited about the opportunities ahead for publishing, media, education, parents and kids.
The past four years have seen a tremendous explosion of digital content. While we’ve had many successes, we’ve also had to reinvent the way we work a number of times. I’m looking forward to discussing those learnings with you in future blog posts. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any specific comments, questions or requests.