From A Childhood Love Of Books And Programming To An Entrepreneur Shaping Children’s Publishing
The intangible rewards of starting a business around what you love.
By Aarti Parikh (Co-Founder & Engineer, KiteReaders)
We’ve been moving at a hectic pace at our bootstrapped startup KiteReaders since my co-founder and I decided last year to enter the children’s ebook and app market. KiteReaders designs, produces and distributes enhanced ebooks and apps for kids in partnership with children’s book authors and publishers.
After experimenting for six months, we found market traction by releasing enhanced eBooks to Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Kids and Apple’s iBooks stores. KiteReaders titles have been downloaded half-million times; generated significant revenues for the company and its partners and won five ebook design awards.
In high school, I took to computers – and ever since, I have enjoyed programming. I have been fortunate to have contributed in several products in the last ten years as a software engineer that have had a positive impact in the world. But with KiteReaders, I’m not only designing the products and writing code but also working with literature, which I also loved since childhood.
These are the three experiences that I have found most rewarding.
- The enhanced ebooks that we design and produce not only delight kids but also help them better comprehend the message in the book.
For one of the books “Whispered Wonders”, our team took pains to make sure that the animations were gentle, the music soothing, and the timing and sequence of both matched well with the story. We were pleased when Apple featured the ebook in the iBookstore. I was more thrilled when my daughter’s comments were “It’s so so beautiful, did you make it.”
- Most children’s book authors that I have talked to desire that their book not only be engaging but peek the curiosity in a child, whether a new word or a new concept.
The digital tablets have so much potential in aiding this curiosity. By touching a word they can look it up in a dictionary, a quiz or game can reinforce a concept and the intonations of the narrator can draw them in to the book. In the past the author, editor, illustrator and art director collaborated to produce a picture book. With digital publishing on tablets, the developer is also now an enabler of this message envisioned for the book.
Here is a quote from Valerie Budayr, an editor at Audrey Press, one of our content partners, that I will remember for years “I just have to tell you that I love it. It’s so special and magical. It’s really special for my children to have their momma reading about our foxes and just think, future generations of my family will be able to know what my voice sounded like. I just love this technology. It’s incredible.”
- Through building our business, we have helped realize the visions of other entrepreneurs.
Many of them in the children’s picture book market happen to be women. I am thankful for the trust they put in our company. In the process, I have learned from, and have been inspired by each and every one of them.
We partnered with Little Pickle Press to launch “Being Global” book app earlier this year. The app went on to win the Appy award – besting Disney’s Its a Small World app. This was an amazing collaboration for both the companies, in which complemented each other’s strengths.
I learned from Rana DiOrio, CEO of Little Pickle Press, that growing a business does not mean you have to do it all – place the trust in your team, provide them the support and inspire through your vision. Positive results tend to follow. I hope this was helpful to fellow women entrepreneurs who are on similar journeys. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Aarti Parikh is Co-Founder at KiteReaders, bringing the best in enhanced digital storytelling to all your devices. Our award-winning enhanced books and apps can be found on iBookstore, Nook Kids, Kindle Picture Books, Nook App store as well as the Apple app store. She is a software engineer and her prior experiences included the design and development of advertising platform at Yahoo!,having written enterprise pharmacy software at Tech-Rx (now McKesson Provider Technologies).