Personalized books: the good, the bad and the ugly

Personalized children's books have - at times - received something of a bad rap. This hasn't always been undeserved.

Personalized books (or personalised books if that is your preferred spelling) sometimes rely too heavily on the notion of being about one specific story and neglect some of the basics of what makes a good children's book - a fantastic, well-written story with engaging pictures. 

So here is my list of the things that I literally think comprise the good, the bad and the ugly of personalized kids' books. 

The best thing about personalized books is that they are exactly that and that the story is all about one special child.

I love this concept – and so do many of the children that have experienced their very own Zoowun stories. There is no better music to my ears than the delighted scream of: “It’s me, it’s me!”


   Zoowun personalized books
The bad thing about personalized books is that – often, but happily not always – the story is a load of hooey. Sadly it’s often a badly written load of hooey at that. I have been delighted to see how many new players in this space are addressing exactly this. They understand that the personalization of the story is not enough on its own. 

Then there are the ugly things and wretchedly I did use the plural. So what’s wrong with personalized books? Here are my three pet peeves:

  1. They often (although again these days not always) have also-ran illustrations. Sometimes there is no picture of the hero child at all or they use an animal figure as the child’s avatar. But unless you buy one of the books that photo-shop a picture of your child into them, the illustrations are not personalized in any way, shape or form.
  2. They are expensive, because they are individually printed and despatched. I don’t think they are expensive because the people and companies behind them are milking the concept for all they’re worth, but because the single unit manufacture and logistics has no economies of scale.
  3. They take a long time to arrive, again because they are printed and distributed individually.


At Zoowun we have tried to package the wow factor of the personalized book in a way that avoids these traditional pitfalls.

  • Our fun-packed stories will pull your child into their very own adventure;
  • Our vibrant illustrations contain an avatar in the likeness of your child. (A lot of the photo-shopped picture books are lovely, but they are expensive because of the manual labor required to insert the individual photographs into the pictures.)
  • We sell our books at a comparative price to an ordinary e-book for the age group available on We believe passionately that something this good should not just be the preserve of the wealthy and we keep our cost structure low so that we can deliver the comparable price point. This is also the reason we use the e-book format as the individual printing and shipping of a single book is very expensive.
  • We use technology to generate your e-book, so most of the time it will be in your inbox or available for download within a few minutes. However, there will be times when we need to manually intervene (for example, if your child’s name is the same as one of the supporting cast of characters in the story). In this case, the book will be delivered within 48 hours. Please contact us if you have not received the book within two days.


  • Please visit our website to see for yourself. We have a number of personalized books available and are building our library day by day.
  • Please use the comment section below to tell us what you think of the good, the bad and the ugly of personalized books.