Zoomin.com ventures into personalized story books with HP Indigo

Making reading interesting again for kids

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Zoomin.com
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.

Zoomin.com
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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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