We Can End the Apartheid in Baby's Picture Stories

Warning! Warning! The “white boy” hero in babies’ stories is now an endangered species


Are you frustrated with looking for picture books for your baby with diverse lead characters?


You’ve dragged yourself through endless bookstores. You’ve trawled countless websites to find stories that you can read to your baby. But not just any stories – stories that have heroes that look like your baby. Diverse characters.


And then it’s still upsetting when you find books with those rare diverse characters. Because there is diversity in diversity. More and more “diverse” characters seem to be a generic brown body - rather than an identifiable ethnicity.


“Diverse books” are also often more expensive than the ordinary “white kid” books. This just reinforces the unfair discrimination in story books.

   Apartheid in childen's books

And you’re left feeling degraded and ripped off for wanting to do the one thing that you know will set your baby up for a successful life – reading to him.

The reason – we are told – is that story books with lead characters who are not white (and usually boys) will not sell enough copies to justify printing them.


But why?


The truth is simply that book publishing largely hasn’t moved beyond the concept of Johannes Gutenberg’s original printing press. Book publishers need to print large volumes of each book title to make the books affordable for a big enough number of consumers.


The bottom-line is that every physical book needs to look the same. It is expensive and complicated to print different versions of a story with heroes of different ethnicities.


It seems absurd - in the 570-odd years since Herr Gutenberg invented the printing press - that the printed book has barely changed its form. Yet here we are, in the 21st century. We can choose the colors of our cars, our lipstick, our shoes. Yet we still cannot individualize the pictures in the books we read our children.


But why is this still true in 2018?


The fact is, it’s not.


It is complete and utter nonsense.


The argument relies entirely on 15th century technology and fails to recognize that 21st century technology has delivered ways that we can produce stories with heroes with different ethnicities. There is no good reason why every single book published cannot be available in several different versions – each with a different skin-colored hero. And cheaply.


The only reasons then are the unwillingness of publishing houses to move away from the way they have always published and marketed books for babies and toddlers – and the economics that drives that business model.


Thanks to Amazon and Apple, we now have tablets and e-readers that we can use to deliver picture stories to our children where the book’s buyer can choose what the story’s hero looks like. It really is that simple. And these story books can be even cheaper than conventionally printed books, while giving a much better story time experience for moms and their kids.


At Zoowun we walk the talk by publishing a range of personalized e-books for babies and toddlers.


We’ve used technology to create e-books where you can choose the name of the hero (and why not make it your child’s name and personalize the story) as well as the illustrations of the hero.


Each e-book is available in up to 400 different “avatars” of the story’s hero. These avatars are available in six different skin tones. The customization of the avatar goes further. Depending on the age of the child, there are up to 19 different hairstyles and five different hair colors.


But let’s be very clear. We are not replacing an interactive book-based story time with a screen that flashes and sings and numbs your child’s responses.


Quite the opposite.


The screen merely replaces the inflexible paper page, giving you the best of a book-based story without the shortcomings.


The other big advantage is that there’s no waiting time. The e-books are delivered almost instantly to your inbox.


All this starting from just US$3.50.


So, what’s the pushback?


Yes, there is a tactile element to reading books that a screen cannot replicate. But there are also disadvantages to letting babies loose with paper pages. Anyone who has watched in horror as a new story book has been shredded or sucked to pulp will understand this.


We have a mission to bring more diverse stories to more children all over the world and to do this quickly and cheaply. Our children grow so quickly that they outgrow their stories and move onto the next level quite fast – sometimes in only a few months. If you want to give your child all these advantages without spending a fortune, then Zoowun personalized e-books are the answer.


So if you want to treat your baby or toddler to a Zoowun personalized e-book today, just go to www.zoowun.com. Choose the title you want from the age menu. Then swipe through the avatar menu to choose the one that looks most like your child. Just fill out the order form, pay with PayPal and the e-book will be delivered to your inbox almost instantly.


It’s time for book publishing to be disrupted like book stores were. The big publishing houses are ignoring a clear need of a huge number of potential customers. We can fill this gap. Today.