Hello students. My name is Mel. I had a long career as a scientist. I had parallel careers as an educator, inventor and jazz musician. But my real calling was as a children’s book writer. I wrote my first book, “Bacteria Galore by Sunday at Four” when I was 23. It was published 23 years later in Hebrew, then in Arabic and then English.
Three printed books followed. We lost more money. There had to be a better way.
About fifteen years ago, I attended a course organized by the team of Shari Arison. I decided that it might be a better idea to share books.
I met Evi Wyler, an amazing philanthropist who liked my stories and wanted to help. We hired Rotem Omri to illustrate all the unillustrated newer books I had written. We created a website, www.meltells.com to host the books. The site still exists. It was not popular – people didn’t find out about it. I realized that I needed to join forces with other writers.
In 2009 I visited the children’s book fair in Bologna. It became clear that illustrators also needed a way to display their artwork. It took an additional four years to find Ran Shternin and get started on Ourboox.
Today Ourboox has 22,000 books and we grow by 20-30% per month during the school year. Over 65% of our traffic is through organic search (we hope it will grow to 80-90%). We hope to have 50,000 books by the end of 2017.
The basic premise: Lots and lots of available text and contextual pictures will lead to more and more search results which will lead to more and more traction. In other words, each book will promote each other book.
Despite its continual growth and relative success, Ourboox still doesn’t have a business model. We are trying to attract donations, talking about other projects. Such as allowing authors to receive donations. Oh, and Itsyboox! Are Itsyboox our future?
Three questions of importance for our future are:-How do we increase the stickiness of the site and attract writers and readers back to the website? -How do we find investment/revenue that will not be detrimental to the website as it now stands?-How do we grow in content, around the world, both in terms of numbers of e-books and quality?
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