Digitizing of all things African content has been a popular service category for a lot of tech entrepreneurs as the Internet of Things becomes more obvious. Talking Bookz digitizes printed African educational and literary materials.
Talking Bookz is a Nigerian tech startup which focuses mainly on publishing and retailing audio books online. The service started as a mobile application for students but suffered a pivot in its infant years. After the pivot, the team rebooted by digitising students’ course manuals and past questions into audio format using text-to-speech software. Then there was a shift to audiobook production which seemed lucrative because of the market size.
Speaking with the Co-Founder, Kolapo Ogungbile, he has always been an entrepreneur having a background in Geology. His quest to have an easy way to listen to course manuals/materials instead of reading them the normal way birthed the DEMO Africa Top 30 startup idea.
The product was officially launched in April during mobile West Africa which also coincided with World Book Day 2015. Launching with 3000 audiobooks of international content was a major achievement. Talking Bookz outshines its African competitors in that it’s into publishing and retailing digital books. The usual procedure entails getting a license, making recordings and selling the books on their portal.
Though the team has been forth coming about pursuing and digitizing African content, some publishers are skeptical about their growth of the market. The main acquisition channel of leads has been via email marketing.
Current content, mostly international, has been possible through partnership with publishers and agents as most renown Nigerian authors mainly publish their books outside the country. The licensing process usually begins and lasts through a lot of conversations with these publishers considering that audiobooks are generally expensive than print.
Talking Bookz is able to, based on its target market, sell its books cheaper relative to popular audiobook websites like Audible, even for similar titles.
Currently, the team boasts of co-founders, 1 permanent staff member and one intern. Team is as follows:
- Kolapo Ogungbile: Cofounder/CEO
- Aransiola Damilola: Co-founder/COO (Sales n Marketing)
- Nicolas Waern: CTO
- Ogunniyi Gbolahan: Intern