I have always loved creative people. In high school, I hung out with the singers from show choir, the actors from drama club, and the most incredible Goth girls who taught me how to shop at thrift stores to score vintage dresses. As I got older, I found myself surrounded by designers, artists, actors, and musicians; I finally admitted to myself that I really love creative people.
One of the things I like doing at Little Pickle Press is finding creative things associated with technology, media, and books, and one of the companies we’ve partnered with fits the bill of All Things Creative: TapBook Author. I spoke via Skype to one of the founders, Sondre Bjørnebekk. Sondre contacted me from Norway after meeting our founder, Rana, at the San Francisco Books & Browsers event. Sondre is an engineer, but he calls himself a “programmer with an MBA.” He enjoys working with the creative, but he’s one of the people who brings the creations to life.
While we focused on some technical parts to their company, we also addressed the creative side of things to help explain what their company does.
It can be very challenging, writing and drawing and building your own journal. Even small stuff like animation or support details takes a lot of attention. Finding inspiring and energetic new salespeople can be difficult, but the search is ultimately rewarding. We try to allow people to be creative; give people freedom and encouragement, and it’s amazing to see creativity it unleashes.
For example, TapBook Author has a new workbook concept: completely paper-free, it uses an all-digital format. It includes basic stuff for animation, and an innovative app that connects image with words for language training. The idea was sold just a few weeks back, with the intent to launch in August.
Schools are a priority for TapBook Author. Although not yet in the hands of pupils, enriched textbooks and multi-media libraries for German language classes will offer read0aloud text, quizzes, and video.
Q: Talk about the creative work you did with one of our newest titles, Catching Fireflies.
A: Fireflies is an app that started out on Skype with Rana. At first we thought, “Is this a crazy idea?” It’s not that it was complicated or hopelessly expensive. I traveled to San Francisco in December and talked to her about it and then we went back with the rest of the team to develop an early prototype. Then we imported pages for print. The questions we ask are: What can we do to enrich the digital form? Although, we sometimes hold back so as to not overdo it.
We can do things with audio greetings and short phrases. Once we’re done with that we can insert pages for writing note pages, but TapBook still kept the product imprint free and allowed for drawing and text where it was a specific challenge. (i.e. draw something about your first school, write about someone you care about)
Q. How will technology change over the next decade?
A. It’s going to be interesting to see how apps and apps stores (and the web in general) change over the next decade. Books will be battling with pure games, but TapBook Author intends to enrich the content. It’s important to reach those kids who don’t want to read by trying to engage and balance the book experience.
Anyone who is interested in working with TapBook Author is more than welcome to contact us. Our potential clients should be ready to experiment with tools, content, e-books, and other digital media options. The goal is not to become too advanced. In terms of interface, the goal is to make it simple and approachable so people can get started.
What I learned about creativity, from talking with Sondre, is that they’re excited to work with creatives to see the vision through until production. The technological pieces of the work is the bulk of what they do, yet they enjoy clients who come with an idea that “sounds good” and their business does what it takes to make that come to fruition.
Sondre told me, “What we do that really helps people be creative is that we can make the site really short. You can see it immediately and it’s not just a matter of money, but about the process.”
With indie publishers, like us here at Little Pickle Press, working hard to overcome the hurdles posed by lack of big budgets and branding, TapBook Author offers the creative edge needed to build a following and share your words with the world. You can see our newest app that we worked on with TapBook Author here. Check out the Catching Fireflies app today!