Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Launching our new digital publishing business over the past year has been like my last ski run. I’m at the top of the hill, nothing but white snow below me. I push off with my poles out front, calves pushing into the front of my boots. I start carving those turns left, then right, gaining speed as I head down the slope. I look good and feel great. Suddenly, I hit a patch of ice and wobble forward and backwards, arms start flaying, but I stay up right. Just when I get my balance and start rolling good again, a kid comes out of nowhere and knocks me down. Luckily a stranger comes by and helps me up. This past year of launching KaZoom Kids Books has been like that. Let me explain.
Backstory on the KaZoom Story
I tried to buy my 5 years-old niece some multicultural children’s books. I went to 4 downtown Chicago bookstores and none of them had one book with a child of color. I was stunned by this and did some research. I discovered only 5% of children’s books featured children of color. So, I decided to do something about it. At the time, I was a digital magazine publisher and I also have a 25 years career span in advertising. To me this seemed a very big opportunity. I reached out to my friends and the community to write and illustrate these books. Our goal is to create greater diversity in children’s literature.
Top Of The Hill
KaZoom Kids iStoryBooks was started in 2016 to fill a void in the publishing industry. We’re creating wonderful stories, with beautiful illustrations with interactive action, read-along narration, and animation. Its available for both Apple and Android devices. Additionally, we’re encouraging multicultural authors and artists to get into the field of children’s digital books. Try our Beta test App for free. Details below.
It Gets A Little Wobbly
What do you mean the technology doesn’t exist for Android? For Apple we could use iAuthor; but, there was no way to do interactive ibooks for the Android market. Worrisome, because I planned to create a library of these books. More shocking was that I could not find one digital rights management (DRM) company that could host a catalog of iBooks. I called every U.S. digital rights management company I could find and got the same answer- eBooks yes, but interactive iBooks no.
I Get Knocked Down
Then I discovered a company in India that claimed to specialize in services to the publishing industry. Best of all, they had a DRM that could host a library of iBooks. I was so excited because they would make our books available for both the Apple and Android market. We hit the launch button last fall and the results were dismal. The Beta test user experience was so bad, we closed it down the first day.
Now what? I wish I could tell you I had an answer, but I didn’t have a clue. But I prayed and had faith it would work out—And, that led to some divine intervention.
A Stranger Helps Me Up
One morning I’m sipping coffee and reading about the conference presenters at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. One of them was Paolo Albert from Pubcoder. He was going to be introducing their new product, called Shelf. PubCoder is a wonderful tool for creating interactive digital content, ebooks and iBook apps without knowing how to code. And Shelf is the DRM vehicle that lets you create your own store or library for distribution of your iBooks. WOWZA!!! I reached out to the Italian company and a lovely stranger named Daniela got back to me. Great timing, she says, “Shelf has an introductory discount for conference attendees.” Double WOWZA!!!
KaZoom, We’re Launching Now
We’re Launching KaZoom Kids iStoryBooks this September with Pubcoder and Shelf. For the next two weeks, while we are in Beta test, you can try out our App for free. Two of our interactive ibooks, Zig Zag Zoo, Opening Day and Kason’s Kites are available for you and your child (ages 3 to 8) to read. Download our App in either the Google Play store or the Apple App store.
You can also test drive Pubcoder for free: https://www.pubcoder.com/
The full KaZoom Kids Books App will launch later this month with 8 titles and we will add two titles a month each month. We are a subscription based model and the price will be $75 per year for 30 multicultural children’s books over the first year.
Launching our business has been quite a ride down that slippery slope called start-up. But now comes the best part; sharing our books with families and helping children grow up proud.