Big Day in Helsinki

Today, Bjørn Terje Bakken – the project manager for our social reading app with gamification – presented the private beta of Lesemeister (literally “reading master”) to Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, the Finnish President and several ministers.

Bakken in Helsinki
Bjørn Terje Bakken presenting Lesemeister in Helsinki

Reports say that the presentation was received with enthusiasm, including a comment from Her Majesty the Queen herself that this looked very interesting. Below is a screenshot where the Queen seems to have completed a new title…

Her Majesty the Queen on Lesemeister
Her Majesty the Queen, or someone using that account, completing a title on Lesemeister to make it show up in the live feed of a friend – from the demo in Helsinki today

Our goal is that by 2019, over half of Norwegian pupils will train to become better readers using this platform. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? We’ll see. We are also looking for partners wanting to use the concept internationally, so if this sounds like you – please give us a shout.

We do thank Innovation Norway for their invaluable support for the research project leading up to this product, our partner Samlaget for a great collaboration so far as well as Edtech Norway (some activity in their group on Facebook regarding this event) for the opportunity to come and present. We think this will be a royal success.

Guest post from Ellen Fossli

Today’s post is a guest post from one of the members of our beta program, Ellen Fossli of Kirell Design. The goal of the project is to make our tool accessible to all the great indie publishers (think 1 and 2 person shops) all over the world. But, like they say, without further ado – the word goes to Ellen.

Ellen Fossli is well on her way to become a wizard
Ellen Fossli is well on her way to become a wizard

In my day job, I am using Adobe Creative Cloud – Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. My area of work includes brochures and magazines, profiling for companies, book design, etc. In addition I am working on a series of children’s books that I hope to publish.

It is for the children’s books I have been using TapBookAuthor. In addition to printed books, I want to release rich and interactive digital version of the titles. To be honest I was a bit skeptical – thinking the tool might be hard to learn, but it was truly not. In fact, it has been amazingly easy!

The tool gives me access to a rich palette of effects, animations and other opportunities. I have still a lot to learn, but even after just one meeting I made an interactive presentation of the book. And it was so fun to do!

I have also started a project with a book of poems for one of my clients. This is also very exciting and I feel I can take digital books to a whole new level.

Before ending, I would like to thank Sondre Skaug Bjørnebekk for an exciting and creative collaboration – and not least fantastic service! This is so fun!

OK, so I got the virtual mic back – blushing a tiny bit, but at least I can return the compliment and say it has been a real pleasure working with Ellen. And she has been patient, because although we are getting there, we are aware we still have some tiny wrinkles to take care of before every indie publisher and self publisher of the world should make rich interactive titles with our tool. 🙂 If you are a self publisher and would like to try our tool, give me a ping at sondre (a)

Frankfurt Frenzy

We are heading to Frankfurt for the book fair tomorrow. My colleague Fredrik will stay for a couple of days, while I have to travel back tomorrow night. Our schedule is busy with plenty of exciting meetings, but we will also spend some time walking around talking to possible partners and new users that might want to check out our services.

If you want to get in touch, you can reach Fredrik on +47 93 84 73 46 and Sondre on +47 91 74 15 74. If you are going, I wish you a great fair!


Welcoming new customers

Going into the summer, we have just signed with two new customers. NKI Forlaget and Tell Forlag, both Norwegian publishers with interesting projects coming up.

They are joining our innovative group of customers that now includes small and large publishers in both North and South America, UK and the Nordic region. We are working with potential clients in several locations and would love to discuss with you if you have an exciting project or idea.

Awesome Award

Praising yourself is nice, but being praised by a third party is even nicer. This is just what happened to our customer Little Pickle Press of San Francisco, Catching Fireflies interactive book app with journalCalifornia the other day. Just look at what the jury wrote about their recent Catching Fireflies app created with our tool:

“THIS is what eBooks should be, taking advantage of the strength of the format to offer the reader an experience they truly could not get on the printed page.”

The title was given the Benjamin Franklin Digital Award. Congratulations Coleen, Rana and the rest of the team. We are proud to be your partner.

An offer you can’t refuse

We are glad to report that we have just signed two new customers, GAN Aschehoug and Schibsted Forlag. With Schibsted aboard (and if my counting is right), all five the largest Norwegian publishers are users.

And the somewhat playful title of this post hints to the fact that we have had 100% of our customers doing a small paid pilot move on to become permanent users. Yep, our tool is that good (and we are not half bad ourselves!). Please contact us if you’d also like an offer you can’t refuse!

Back from Bologna

Bologna 2014I have just returned from one of the biggest events of the year in children’s books publishing, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

We talked to many interesting people, but if we missed you – let us now and we can have a chat on Skype or phone instead!

Next up for us is the London Book Fair – here you can meet both Fredrik and myself – and we’ll also be visiting Book Expo America later in spring. Give us a ping if you want to have a chat about how to create awesome interactive books with no helps from programmers!

TapBookAuthor at the Paris book fair!

Bon jour!

Early spring in Paris is not the worst one can experience – as always it was an enjoyment to visit this beautiful city. Also it was a pleasure meeting so many great children’s books publishers and service providers at the Paris book fair. It is obvious that a lot is happening in the digital space for children’s books, and we are pleased to be part of that. TapBookAuthor was present at the Paris book fair to showcase our solution and to connect with the key players in the French market. We met some very interesting people and businesses, and we are excited moving forward establishing a presence in France.

Overview of the fair
Overview of the fair

Singapore Sling(shot)

We are participating in Innovation Norway’s Tech Incubator program at JFDI in Singapore. So for the next three weeks, our CEO is discussing with potential partners and collaborators in the South East Asian market.

If you happen to read this, even if not during our period here, and are an indie publisher in the area that may want to test our offering – give us a ping (or on local number +65 9166 5766), and we’ll help you getting started.

Meet us around the world

This spring, you might meet us around the world as we travel to trade fairs and to work with partners. The way it looks now, the places we could meet include:

  • Bologna when March turns into April (for the Children’s book fair)
  • Singapore early April
  • In London for the London Book Fair April 14th and 15th
  • End of May in NYC for Book Expo America

Let us know if you have an exciting project and want to meet with us, also in places not mentioned above!

Win and get your title in app stores

TapBookAuthor arriving in Bologna
TapBookAuthor arriving in Bologna

We are visiting the Bologna and London book fairs this week and the next. We thought this was a good occasion to do some good and at the same time get our platform in the hands of even more creative people across the globe.

Our platform is used by children’s book publishers all over the world to create interactive content for learning and entertainment. The company got a first international breakthrough when Samsung decided to use the platform in seven countries in South East Asia. Recently an Indie Edition, aimed at self publishers and small organizations, of the platform was launched and can be tested for free by anyone.

We are now running a competition where we sponsor the winners with free access to the premium edition for a year, free 1-to-1 training as well as App Store fees for the year for Apple and Google’s respective stores. This is a total value of over 2000 USD. As always: You keep all your revenue, publish in your own name and own your work 100%.

To take part in the competition, write an email to and explain why your title will be a success in the app stores. Feel free to include sketches and other materials that will convince us, especially highlight how your title will benefit from digital enrichments. All materials submitted will be treated confidentially.

User Forum #3

Today we held our third user forum, in the cinema at Oslo Science Park, where we are currently situated in the EdTech Lab. The attendance was good, and we were super proud to see what our customers are creating as well as showing some goodies ourselves in terms of new functionality.

Social Reading from Samlaget
Bjørn Terje Bakken is showing the social reading app from Samlaget

The highlights included:

  • A presentation from GAN Aschehoug of their Bokbussen app
  • A presentation of how TapBookAuthor is helping Samsung KidsTime create around 40 rich titles for the award winning titles from seven countries in South East Asia
  • A look at the new backend technology for social reading, with pilot customer Samlaget as the first user (utilizing more or less our complete backend platform including Reading Analytics, gamification and social challenges, the subscription engine as well content delivery and a rich reader app)

We also announced a new partnership with voice-over professionals with talent from all over the world available, new employees (we are now 10 counting part time employees!) and several new clients.

In the practical demos of new functionality, we went from idea to fully functional app on our Android Tablet in a few minutes. The app included camera interactions, free hand drawing, drag and drop, text input and of course sounds and videos.

If you want to get a version of the “highlight reel” from our user forum demoed live over Skype, please give us a ping. We are also planning to start doing regular webinars that we think will complement our library of HOWTO videos in a great way.

Hope to see you in person the next time we are arranging our user forum!

What a Challenge!

A little while ago we joined a hackathon put together by Telenor Digital, as part of their Digital Winners conference. And in case you didn’t know, a hackathon is an intense collaboration trying to make tangible results in a short time, often between different people from other teams and companies.

The goal was to find a problem and come up with a solution within 48 hours. If not perfect, the solution would hopefully demonstrate how technology could help solve the problem.

2015-10-22 14.32.55 HDR

Our team consisted of Cecilie Liset & Kamilla, service design students at Arkitekthøyskolen in Oslo, Colin Dodd & Ingrid Ødegaard from the video chat service  and of course our own Sondre Bjørnebekk, founder of

Since Norway and many other countries are destinations for a great number of refugees these days, we decided to let our task focus on newly arrived refugees by giving them a simple tool for learning basic language skills.

To kickstart our research we made contact with the managers of the Facebook group Refugees welcome to Norway. They put us together with Ahmad, a high school student who agreed to do a quick video interview with us in

We also spoke to people from the Red Cross who work with welcoming refugees on a daily basis, as well as guiding them in their new home town. We should probably have done more research, but the time aspect is unfortunately a part of the game when it comes to a hackathon.

Anyway we asked Ahmad a load of questions to get closer to a possible solution. Here are a couple of them:

  • What was it like arriving in Norway and starting to learn the language?
  • Do you speak English? (The interview was done in Norwegian, as he spoke it very well.)
  • What was most hard to learn as regards the Norwegian language?

Based on our own research and Ahmad´s response we kept working on our idea, finding an app to be a good solution. Then Kamilla and Cecilie sketched out the journey from when a refugee arrives, until he/she starts learning the language, finally showing how our app could fit into this. Check it out here:

We decided to use TapBookAuthor’s own technology to make the actual app, and started to make a skeleton for a book. The book-app would first take the learner through a few language lessons, before a quiz would check out how much was learned. Finally the learner could use the video chat room inside the book, and chat with another learner who also wants to practice. In this way learning becomes both fun and interactive, in addition to having a social aspect.

To promote the idea we thought of informing about the app with posters in areas that refugees have go through when they arrive. We also made a simple webpage prototype for this purpose. The idea was simply to show how a solution like this could work, so we didn’t actually make real content for the language lessons. But we really hope that someone who works with educational material might be interested in picking up this idea and put it into life!

We believe that there could be some quick rewards for everybody by making it easier for newly arrived refugees to start learning Norwegian in this way. And if you have the content – we have the technology!

Do contact us if you’re interested!

Oh, and one more thing:

In addition to the group creating the prototype of the language app for refugees, team member Colin Dodd created his own small interactive picture book in just a few hours. During a demonstration of it the book asked him for a few details, including his phone number. Unfortunately Colin lost contact with his robot. But a bit later, after flipping a few pages, his phone started calling, and it spoke to him in a somewhat metallic voice?! It was his lost robot calling!

2015-10-22 16.32.34

That fun concept, bridging the digital and physical, showed a cool way of using our API, which basically lets the user include any piece of HTML5 as a widget inside our interactive books. During the presentation someone even suggested a book using Google Earth to show a picture of your house in a horror story, and THEN the phone rings … Maybe too creepy?

If you have ideas for how you could use the API, please drop us a line and we’ll set you up with an early access user for free!


Samsung and TapBookAuthor at AFCC

Samsung and have partnered for digitizing the winners in the SKTAA competition and will share some experiences at AFCC

This Friday, our CEO is proud to be joining Samsung Singapore to give a talk at AFCC – The Asian Festival of Children’s Content. Their talk will cover enrichments to digital interactive books and what is popular with the kids that use the apps, as well as with their parents.

Samsung has selected as their platform and partner for digitizing all the winners from the Samsung KidsTime Author’s Award competition.

Literally as we speak on Friday, the 38 winning entries – from some 7 different countries in South East Asia! – are being enriched in a digital format. There are 6 grand prize winners and as part of the talk, you can see a live preview of some of these winners.

If you are in Singapore, I hope you will be able to come to the talk, and look forward to discussing with you in the Q&A and after. I am of course also happy to show you how our tool helps such amazing titles come alive.

News from home while at BEA

The purpose of this short post is twofold; to tell anyone stopping by that we are at BEA and would be happy to meet and to let you know about starting to sell interactive ebooks for children today!

BEA – Book Expo America – is on in NYC this week and we are listening, discussing and mingling. Shout out if you want to chat! I’ll be here the rest of the week.

And from home, I got news today that launched their updated ecommerce page selling interactive books for children. They have nicknamed the format “ebook plus” and the titles typically contain voice-over, sometimes interactivity and animations and in some cases mini-games and quizzes. Out of the 150 or so titles available at launch, I believe only one single title was not made using our tool!

Work of Art

FrøetFrøet from Gyldendal – was called “the first app that proves that an app can be art” in a review.

This makes us as toolmakers very proud!

The app is different from a few other apps made with our tool in that it is not interactive in the sense that you tap to make things happen, but it is very visual with simple yet effective animations and the sound effects and actor create a very coherent experience.

Well done, Gyldendal – looking forward to the next masterpiece from you and our other great customers and partners!

User Forum March 14th

We’ll be holding our second User Forum in Oslo March 14th, at Mesh in Tordenskiolds gate. We’ll keep it low-key, personal and above all useful. We are keen on getting feedback from our users and excited to tell more about recently added features, share some tips & tricks as well as have a look at the roadmap for further development.

About 20 existing users have already enrolled and will be joining, if you want to join us and have not yet gotten an invitation – please reach out and contact us as soon as possible.