The London Free Press

Londoner hopes for happy ending with kids' books

by Shelley Lawson
The London Free Press

Book By You Publishing founder, Mike Pocock holds a copy of The Golden Key, a personalized full-length novel for kids. 
- Mike Hensen, LFP-

First it was romance. Now, it's kids.

So has been the business life of Book By You Publishing and its founder, Mike Pocock.

Pocock's London-based business launched the personalized romance novel last year. Pocock said "thousands" of people bought the book -- customizing about 30 optional characteristics in the steamy story, including the name of two lovers and the unlikable other woman.

But Pocock said the personalized romance is a novelty. "People will buy one once, maybe twice, but that's it."

So, last week he launched a personalized book for kids.

Based on a story by 19th-century English author George MacDonald, The Golden Key can be customized to include the name of two children and one adult among other personal details.

Pocock hopes the children's market will be more enduring to fit his plan to develop an "e-book" business where books or chapters are delivered entirely electronically.

"I see kids' books fitting very well with that," he said.

Stephen King was among the most prominent authors to experiment with e-publishing, but found people who downloaded chapters would share them or post them on public forums.

But with personalized books, the story is most compelling to those for whom the tale is customized, Pocock said.

Delivery of e-books would be faster and less expensive than having the books printed and mailed, he said.

There would be an opportunity for e-readers to subscribe to a chapter-a-day service and even choose the direction of the story, he said.

Pocock laments he's "about a month behind" with the introduction of the first children's book. People only have until Dec. 14 to order one if they want the professionally printed and bound soft-cover story in time for Christmas. A gift card is available on later orders.

The Golden Key is a non-violent adventure story espousing "the value of friendship and perseverance and following your dream," he said. "It's fun and exciting."

The 150-page book, which costs $24.95 plus shipping and taxes, is available on Pocock's Web site

 * Book by You Web site:   Personalized romance and children's novels!

Reprint courtesy London Free Press