Want Your Kids to Grow Up to Love Books? This Austin-Based Startup Wants to Help – Inc.com

Want Your Kids to Grow Up to Love Books? This Austin-Based Startup Wants to Help – Inc.com

Marissa Mayer
Follow the tech press and every day you'll come across headlines about the latest startup raising a boatload of money to bring some innovative new technology to market. This isn't one of those stories.  This is the story of how one Austin-based startup is attracting top investors not with the latest innovation, but instead by nudging customers back to a low-tech alternative. The company is called Literati and it just raised a $12 million Series A round to help parents wrestle the tablet from their children's hands and replace it with a printed book instead.  Making books as sexy as iPads Started by former Googler Jessica Ewing and writer Kelly Carroll, Literati is a monthly subscription club for kids' books. For $9.95 a month families receive a curated box of five books grouped according to a theme, along with related art and activities. Parents and kids can check out the books for a week and then return whichever aren't a hit with the little ones, paying a discounted price for whatever they keep.    It's a modern distribution model for an old-fashioned technology with a huge, still undisrupted market. And high-profile investors ....


"It didn't take a lot for us to convince investors that parents don't want to see their kids on an iPad. A lot of them are very much the same way themselves with their kids, " Ewing told Inc.com  Parents want their kids to read more, they just need a helping hand making books as sexy as tablets, according to Ewing, who worked in product management at Google under both Marissa Mayer and Sundar Pichai before spending several years as an aspiring writer.  "It's so stressful for parents because they're aware of the problem, but at the same time it can be hard to find the right allies, " she says. That's why Literati carefully curates each box, pulling from large and small publishers, as well as self-published titles and presses' back catalogs to give parents fresh choices beyond a five millionth reading of Goodnight Moon, but without requiring them to sift through the endless options of Amazon.  In addition, the fun packaging and additional materials help tempt kids to reading. These features "send the message to kids that, 'Hey, this is fun, '" Ewing says. "I think too many parents make the mistake of treating books like ....

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