Two best friends and major book lovers have created a new subscription service that parents everywhere will love. Instead of roaming the bookstore aisles with your kids, Literati selects the best reading materials for them based on their age group and sends them right to your door.
“You have a child and you step into this world of children’s books, and it takes awhile to get a sense of the landscape,” Literati’s CEO Jessica Ewing told Care.com. “Parents have to sift through a lot to find a good children’s book, and they just don’t have the time.”
Ewing and her best friend and Literati co-founder Kelly Carroll met in Hawaii when they were each working on their writing. They said they’ve never not talked about books.
“We’ve had a relationship around books from the beginning,” said Ewing, who is a former Google executive. “I think that books are something that have always been at the center of our relationship.”
The topic of reading material for kids came up when a friend started sending Carroll her favorites because she had a newborn and was short on time to find the best books for him. Sharing the top picks for children got the women thinking about what they could contribute to the book world.
“It’s saturated and hard to get into,” Ewing said. “A lot of big players vying for space in that field.”
So they asked themselves, “What is something we could do that could make the experience more special? What can we add? How can we be different?”
After many hours of research into what kind of product would help parents, Literati was born. For a recurring $9.95 membership fee, families receive a box of five hand-selected books every month. But the beautiful package is so much more. Each box has a unique theme and includes original art from an illustrator that worked on one of the books featured, a handwritten letter to the child, stickers and/or bookplates.
“The books we curate are not frequently found in bookstores,” Carroll said. “We really scoured the globe for the best ones. These books are exceptional.”
Possibly the best feature of the box are the discounts on the books parents decide to purchase. Families receive 10% off the purchase of one book, 15% off two books, 20% off three books, 25% off four books and 30% off five books. The box arrives, and kids have a week to review the options and decide which ones they’ll keep.
“What we have tried to embody in this product is the unforgettable experience of receiving a package, where every single component has been thought about deeply in the hopes of opening a child’s mind to the magic of books,” Carroll said.
Ordering books online comes with a desirable ease but can lack the charm that comes from visiting a bookstore. Literati bridges the gap.
Carroll explained the conundrum parents face: “Do I buy from the massive online retailer? Do I pay full price and get the experience of the independent bookstore?”
“We’re trying to combine the two and give you the magic and feel of books, the sense of being part of a community and the kind of prices you can get online,” she said.
Literati launched at the end of 2016, but the team already has additional features in the works. This month, a donation aspect will launch that allows kids to send back books they no longer need. Each Literati box comes with a prepaid mailer, so the process is easy and costs the family nothing.
“Literati will gift wrap the donations and provide personalized book plates for each child,” Carroll said.
Then the company sends the donated books to shelters, foster care homes and under-served youth organizations “to get the donations into the hands of young readers most in need of support,” Carroll said. “It teaches children the importance of giving back.”
Parents can order their box based on the age of their child. Club Neo is for newborn to 1 year; Club Sprout is for children ages 2-3; Club Nova is for kids 4-6; and Club Sage is for those 7-8 years old.