By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
I was rather shocked to read the news over my breakfast the other day that Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of the ubiquitous search engine, had invested in a company that essentially just produces books.
Of course there is a bit more to it than that and the company concerned, “Lost My Name”, is not attempting to take on Pearson or Cambridge University Press at book production. What Google had spotted, and what had drawn around £6 million of investment from them, was the very clever use of technology in creating a personalised child’s book, which sells for a premium through their website.
The four founders of the company had spotted a gap in the market for personalised story books which involved the child in the story. None of the founders had a background in printing or book production, but had wanted to start a business in the technology sector. With a background in advertising and comedy writing, the founders of the business had read “The Lean Start-up“ by Eric Ries, and found a methodology that suited their ambitions.
Using the principles espoused by Ries, they looked at a number of different ideas before settling on a book with a print run of one! The book is aimed very firmly at the proud parent or grandparent wanting to help their child improve their reading skills.
Using a combination of over two hundred illustrations and rhymes, they take the child on a journey. The book tells a story of the child them forgetting his or her name at the beginning of the story. Then through a series of adventures, the child identifies the individual letters which make up his or her name to rediscover it at the end.
In the two years since the company was set up it has become the top selling picture book of 2014, and is on track to do the same again in 2015. At £18.99 for a very well digitally-printed version, the personalised book has already sold over 500,000 copies around the world. The founders are now planning their next book which aims to teach children about their place in the universe.
Making a Name for Oneself in the Digital Print Market
Of course when you listen to them speak, as I had the pleasure to do at a seminar recently, they do not consider themselves printers or publishers. Rather, the printing is outsourced. They are firmly in the technology sector, as the software which takes the child’s name and turns it into a story is the key to their success. They have invested heavily in software developers to keep them ahead of any competition. They have achieved a significant premium for their product through clever use of personalisation.
The potential for profit in digital printing
This is the sort of thing that I know many of our customers at Landa Digital Printing will be following closely. The ability to create a personalised version is a key feature of anything printed on the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Press. Developing a business model to use it profitably will need the sort of vision demonstrated by the “Lost My Name” team in creating a new product.
Lobby image: https://www.lostmy.name/