Zoomin.com ventures into personalized story books with HP Indigo

Making reading interesting again for kids

Zooboostory team worked towards ensuring that prints popped with the right amount of colors, print quality, and media selection and brought illustrations to life. Photo Zooboostory.com

Mumbai-based Zoomin.com has brought an innovative solution for Indian parents and kids by utilizing the power of digital technology and web to print (W2P) infrastructure. It is now ready to fulfill the requirement of personalized storybooks and has started a new eRetail platform by the name of Zooboostory.com powered by HP Indigo Digital press and W2P Infrastructure.

Reading a storybook is so much more than just reading. It’s an imaginative world for the reader and serves as an escape into an alternate reality. Today, most children are growing up without the magical world of storybooks. While video plays a crucial role in modern-day learning, it leaves very little to the imagination and tends to keep the creative muscles dormant.

Sachin Katira, a pioneer of the personalized printing industry and the man behind Zoomin.com and Zooboostory.com has potentially found a way to make storybooks return to their must-read status.

The amazing story of Zooboostory. com has shown us how a robust print infrastructure can help bring interesting and innovative ideas to life. With the goal to make personalized storytelling a household name, Katira is on his journey from selling hundreds a month to his aim of building a personalized storybook library in every child’s bedroom.

Personalized storybooks and HP Indigo

In India, personalized kids storybooks is a big market and unfortunately, till a few days back we were not having any printer in India who was doing this commercially using an in-house print facility. The demand for such books were fed by printers operating from outside of India and such books cost a lot to Indian consumers because of excessive shipment charges.

Zooboostory.com aims to make learning interesting for kids through personalized storytelling. Photo Zooboostory.com

“My grandparents would always include my name as one of the characters of the story,” Katira says. It was precisely this core insight that derived the eureka moment and fueled the launch of Zooboostory.com.

HP Indigo, along with the Zooboostory team, worked towards ensuring that prints popped with the right amount of colors, print quality, and media selection and brought illustrations to life. With the targeted readership being kids, the vivid blacks and contrasting shades made the vibrant color prints.

Over the past one year, children have grown accustomed to accessing educational and recreational content through online media. Katira noticed that when his two boys were  introduced to educational reading material or even storybooks, it felt like “schoolwork.”

That’s when he decided to piggyback on his vast experience in printing and created Zooboostory.com. A platform that integrates a child’s name, personality, and physical features into the storybook. The simple insight of personalizing the storybook by “including the child’s name in the story” presented a whole new world of storytelling.

Making the most of a robust print infrastructure

Katira’s Zoomin.com is said to be the leading player in personalized and customizable merchandising photo albums, coffee table books, and other exciting and innovative print-based merchandise. Katira, in his quest to offer a better customer experience, made the shift to HP Indigo technology to create photo-based print merchandise because a toner-based system just didn’t provide adequate results and quality due to technical and operational limitations. “The CMYK set up that is based on special colors will bring every illustration to life” says Katira.

Zooboostory.com today

According to Katira, a critical aspect of the launch was managing scale. After the customer enters the required details, the company’s backend system manages to create a print-ready file within minutes. In fact, to manage scale, the efficiency and features of HP Indigo, enabled the Zooboostory team to print about 700 finished books within an hour. What makes this a great achievement is this was achieved without compromising on the complexity and individual nature of each story.

When asked how HP contributed to the turnaround time at Zooboostory.com, Katira says, the press uptime is fantastic and the relationship with HP has been great.

“In fact, right after lockdown when we needed HP’s support, though public transport wasn’t running, we had an HP representative at our doorstep to help. In fact, owing to optimization and scaling of technology deployed, Zooboostory.com today has the capability to ship out finished personalized storybooks within 24 hours,” he says.

What’s more, currently as a platform, it’s much more than a storybook printing service. They have a second target audience that they communicate with – creators and artists. “We’re always on the lookout for great illustrators and storytellers who can craft stories,” Katira says. The stories today are based on different milestones for children such as birth of a sibling, the importance of sharing, and many morality-building tales. All stories must be crafted by delicately knitting nuances and lessons within.

Personalized storybooks – novelty or norm?

Scaling up any business that is built on personalization has always been a challenge. So, when asked if personalized storybooks will ever be a mass scale idea, Katira replies, “It’s going to be the norm and it’ll also be the rekindling of the curiosity behind storybooks. When the child reads about him or herself in the story, intrigue is certain.”

The organization plans on adding new titles every month, based on a careful screening process. Not only does this add variety to the story selection, but also opens a great publicity platform for artists to showcase their talents of art and storytelling.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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