Is there anything more beautiful than children’s books? Yes, there is: Personalized children’s books! A wonderful topic charged with emotions, not just for parents.
We are particularly happy when Metapaper is involved in the production of books for children. And with United Letters, the online publisher founded by Johanna Lehmann at the end of 2016, the story gets even more exciting: Not only can you personalize Johanna Lehmann’s newly launched children’s book with a child’s name and appearance, the book also tells a wonderful and really empowering story for children. Each book is an individually crafted by our printing partner NINO Druck with great love and care. A lot of love goes into the production of these treasures. We have met Johanna to learn more about her children’s book and its origins.
Metapaper: Hello Johanna, great that you were able to make the time to talk to us! What inspired you to write a personalized book for children?
United Letters: Hello Axel. First of all, thank you very much for inviting me. Before my daughter was born one and a half years ago, I had already written several books, including the travelogue ‘How to love San Francisco – One year in the City by the Bay’ and a technology guide to San Francisco) and had worked in the Silicon Valley for a number of years. When I was still a full-time technology manager and treated being an author as a second job, I kept wondering how I could combine my passion to write books with all the exciting new technologies out there. And finally, after my daughter Zoe was born, the idea came to me. I was looking for an inspiring children’s book that would accompany Zoe throughout her entire life and would be dedicated to her and personalized for her. Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I got down to work and wrote the book myself.
Metapaper: You say that you want your book to be an inspiration. Could you tell us what your book is about?
United Letters: The title of our book is “he Tree of Life”. In the story, the child who receives the book always takes centre stage. In the book, my daughter Zoe has an amazing dream. She ends up in a magic forest with trees that are so colourful and unique that she has never seen anything quite like it in her entire life. Names are written on the trees. A while later, she meets a friendly bear called Naby, the guardian of this magic forest of names. And Naby shows her something very special: Zoe’s own tree of life, with all the great moments of life. In the beginning, the tree is still very small, but with more and more colourful and exciting experiences in Zoe’s life, her own tree of life keeps growing and becomes stronger and stronger. The bear encourages little Zoe always to follow her heart and to live her dreams. But this is not the end of the adventure. Naby takes Zoe on a journey to the edge of the forest, where they can both admire the whole wide world.
Metapaper: Amazing! It sounds like a book that I might even want for myself (Axel laughs). So what are the goals you would like to achieve with this book?
United Letters: Ha, ha, yes, indeed, the book is also really popular with adults, because at some point in their lives, they tend to forget to follow their hearts and to realize their dreams. During my time in California, I learnt that it is very important in life to believe in oneself and in one’s dreams. I also learnt that you can only do something really well if you are passionate about it. When I left California, I made a promise to myself that later, I would like to pass on these values to my children.
Metapaper: Well, we certainly hope that your book will encourage many children and their parents to live according to those values. Could you tell us the age group that you have in mind for this book? And how and where can it be ordered?
United Letters: The book is as suitable for the time after a child is born, as it is when they start school. In the beginning, the little ones look at the colourful illustrations and marvel at them. As they get older, they also begin to understand the story behind the pictures. You can see and order the book on our website www.united-letters.com/de. On the site, you can personalize the book online with the child’s name and appearance and add a personal dedication.
Metapaper: Following the order, the book is printed individually for each child and can be dispatched worldwide. That sounds like a very complex process. How does in work in practice and what do you see as the most important aspects of the book production?
United Letters: It is true that the process looks very straightforward to the potential buyer, but the easier it looks, the more complex it is in practice. We are lucky to have found NINO Druck as a partner who takes control of the entire project. Right from the start, NINO was really excited about our project. As a media service provider, they developed the configurator, the currency converter and the multilingual website as the user interface for our customers.
As a full-service printing company, NINO Druck prints and binds each book individually for the child who will receive it, using print-on-demand technology. Since a personalized children’s book is emotionally charged, workmanship has to be perfect in every way. For a flat opening, we have chosen the layflat binding method, and we print on Metapaper SMOOTH White, a paper with a very attractive velvety feel. And in a final step, NINO sends the book or the books into the whole wide world. Yes indeed, quite a lot goes into a single book (says Johanna laughingly).
Metapaper: You can say that again. We wish you and your book the best of luck and a successful future – may many more books follow!