What is BookBeak?
BookBeak is the first app-based platform that aggregates African short stories from published and unpublished writers and then serves those African stories to our subscriber base. The app aims to connect African writers across the continent, giving them a space for expression, whilst providing sustenance. Africans rely on mobile platforms to perform most of their technological requirements. So, an app-based platform is accessible by most Africans today, both home and abroad.
BookBeak is the brainchild of 3 founders – Kamo Sesing, Cameron Naidoo and Louis Enslin. These three young South Africans have diverse backgrounds in advertising, tech and audio production. Their combined experience provides the perfect combination of skills to bring a platform like this to the market.
What actually sparked the idea was a frustration expressed by African parents who wanted to expose their kids to more representative stories that their kids could relate to. These parents 1) Didn’t have a centralized place where they could find this content and 2) that housed a large enough inventory they could keep coming back to daily. We also realized that there were a lot of unpublished writers and storytellers who had this unique content. So we decided to connect the two.
Fables, folklore and storytelling has been a part of the African culture for centuries. These stories are a tool for parents to educate their children, pass on their values and explain cultural practices. The BookBeak ethos is simple; We believe everyone has a story to tell. So, we want to have as little barriers to access as possible for writers to share their stories with the world unlike traditional publishing platforms. As such we host content from published, unpublished and self-published authors, for both kids and adults.
BookBeak is a hit!
BookBeak enjoyed 15 000 downloads in the first week of launch in South Africa alone. It has attracted close to 50 writers and content contributors, and acquired just over 2000 subscribers. Furthermore, the app has enjoyed extensive media coverage across the continent. Although, our commercial success isn’t one of our metrics at this stage of the business.
What we’re using to judge success right now is the acquisition of new subscribers, repeat visitation and how frequently those people are using the app. So in relation to those metrics, we’re doing exceptionally better than anticipated. This past Africa Day, BookBeak was profiled by Apple on the App Store as one of the continent’s select platforms to celebrate Africa Day.
Impact we hope to achieve
We want to create greater opportunities for more African storytellers by extending the reach of our platform across the world and introducing it to new audiences globally. BookBeak has a number of remarkable features, however its most meaningful is its revenue sharing model. Initially, revenue generated from BookBeak’s global subscription base will be shared on a 50/50 basis with contributing writers. Then, there is further tiered income based on the number of downloads the writer’ story receives. We are hoping to provide sustainable income for individuals with storytelling talents.
We want to be the largest holder of African stories on the planet and give even more African storytellers greater access to people locally and overseas looking for these uniquely African stories. We’re currently in talks with a cell phone network provider to help us establish our footprint across the continent. We hope to start sourcing stories from all corners of Africa.
BookBeak is available for download from Apple and Google Play stores. A subscription gets you full access to BookBeak’s entire library for your enjoyment, whilst also supporting Africa’s talented storytellers. Any content creators anywhere on the continent with a story to share can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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