Scribble Press: A Brief History

April 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Scribble Press opened its doors on Mothers Day 2008 but really began its life on a cross-country plane trip during the summer of 2006.  On that airplane ride two entrepreneurs, who also happened to be mothers and both passionate about books and literacy, cooked up a plan to create a destination where kids could write, illustrate and then publish their own books.

Over the next two years we brought together a team of people to bring the idea to life – bookmakers, printers, architects, designers, MBA interns, real estate experts, educators, artists, sourcing experts, lawyers, accountants, kid testers, friends and family – a mind-boggling number of people touched the idea and brought something to make it richer.  If we were to put together an acknowledgements section at the back of this book, it would be hundreds of names long.

The printing industry people said we were crazy.  It’s impossible to make money delivering a printed book in 20 MINUTES, they told us.  And maybe, after all, those people were right – but we were determined to press forward anyway.  We wanted to create “Build a Bear for books” and had visions of kids in malls across the country spending their time creating stories instead of buying toys.

May 10, 2008 came and went in a blur of ribbon-cutting and packed crowds enjoying the hundreds of sharpies in the marker wall and the cash register merrily ringing up the sales.  When we closed the doors at 6pm, exhausted, we had produced and delivered over 100 individually printed and bound books, with a bigger stack left to make the next morning.  We were off and running.  And the public response was fantastic – one of our early reviewers said, in what remains my favorite quote, “Scribble Press sells joy.”

Over the next several years we faced challenges and opportunities as we grew the business.  The mall space was small and the parking was terrible, so we moved locations.  The economy tanked in September 2008, sending a chilling ripple across the entire retail industry, so we scaled back our revenue projections.  In 2010 we planted a flag in New York City, realizing that a colder climate and denser urban area might be more suited to our concept.  And when the iPad first appeared in May 2010 many of us saw that it provided the perfect vehicle for creating books.  So we made our next investment not in new stores, but in an iPad app.

Today Scribble Press for iPad has been downloaded over 200,000 times and has a half million sessions per month.  The number of people around the world who have found us on the iPad is more than ten times the total number of customers who have ever walked through the doors of one of our retail stores.  Every day, classrooms around the country and the world are using Scribble Press to publish stories, write science reports and show off their knowledge of math and history.

Scribble Press – the retail experience – will celebrate its last day as an independent location on June 16, 2013 – which happens to be Fathers Day.  In its five year history Scribble Press has printed over 50,000 books and hosted over 500 bookmaking birthday parties.   Countless children have become published authors and felt the pride and confidence that comes along with seeing one’s name in print.  In its next iteration, Scribble Press will become part of the larger creativity destination Make Meaning, with current locations in New York, Boston, Scottsdale and Thousand Oaks.  Bookmaking by Scribble Press launches at Make Meaning in New York City on July 16.  With many more locations planned over the next few years, Make Meaning provides a strong platform for realizing Scribble Press’ vision of turning kids into published authors.

Scribble Press will continue to grow as a digital publishing platform – seeking to make self-publishing both fun and accessible for kids everywhere.

What a privilege it has been to build a company that sells joy.   Thanks to everyone who shared this vision and brought something to make it a reality.

Have your own Scribble Press story to share?  Please submit it via comments, to our facebook page or via email to info@scribblepress.com. 

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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