KITABU: We are not just a service, we are content producers
- How did the idea of creating KITABU come about?
-The idea was not born out of nothing: we saw two trends. On the one hand, the volume of the world market of audio content is growing, turning into independent markets. According to Deloitte research, audiobooks and podcasts grow by 25-30% a year. Modern man increasingly operates on the principle of Double Your Time: when people listen to audio while exercising, for example.
On the other hand, we see a shortage of audiobooks by Kazakh authors, especially modern ones. Many of them don't even have e-books, let alone audiobooks. We decided to fill this gap.
- Is your mobile app somehow different from other analogues?
- Yes. Firstly, KITABU is a full-fledged publisher of audiobooks - we record books ourselves, not just buy ready-made ones. Secondly, we focus on the works of modern Kazakhstani writers and invite them for collaboration. Thirdly, we plan to record many Kazakhstani audiobooks.
But most importantly: KITABU is a content project. We are not just a service, we are content producers. This is usually more expensive than just making a service, because it requires constant creation of new high-quality content. But in the long run, it is projects like this that win the attention of the audience and enjoy its trust. Plus, according to the predictions of experts, those projects that will enter into large ecosystems will survive, and these are primarily content projects.
- Do you agree that audio books will replace paper books?
- Paper books will still be alive, of course. For example, vinyl is still alive right now, and music lovers listen to records. But we think it is desirable to distribute works in different ways, in different formats: print, electronic and audiobook.
Yes, many authors often limit themselves to the printed version, fearing that the e-book and audiobook will reduce sales of the printed version. Only a small fraction of contemporary Kazakh authors present their books in electronic form. There are practically no audio versions of such books.
But this position in the long term will lead to the fact that these works will not be on the Internet, they simply will not have a wide audience, especially young people. We believe that the works of Kazakhstani authors deserve to be more widely known in the digital environment.
- What is the advantage of your app?
- We focus on unique content, we professionally record audiobooks in Kazakh and Russian ourselves. Only here you can find audiobooks of many modern Kazakh authors. KITABU is an audiobook publisher whose mission is to popularize Kazakh literature.
- How long have you been working on the realization of your startup?
- The fact is that we are not new to the media production market, we simply created video content at the Black&White production company before, and in 2021 we saw how the audio format market was growing rapidly and decided to work in this niche.
In May 2021, we conducted our own research on the audiobook market in Kazakhstan and looked at global trends. A month later we signed our first contract with an author for the dubbing of his books. To date, we have already had 350 books dubbed and a whole team of professional narrators, sound directors and specialists who are working hard on the project. The mobile application itself is now at the demo stage, we're refining the functionality, filling it with content, testing it and preparing to launch in the first half of 2022.
- What is the motto of your startup?
- Our slogan: KITAP YNI (Sounds of a Book). As a publishing house, we want to promote Kazakhstani literature in audio format.
- What advice would you give to young people who want to launch their own project?
- Don't stop at an idea, try to implement it. Try and do not be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are also experience, and often more valuable than successful experience.
- Do you have a personal top list of audiobooks that you would recommend listening to?
- If we take from the books we have voiced, these are:
1.Journalist and writer Zhaksybay Samrat's audiobook "Biteu Heat" about a love story during the events of December 1986.
2.The audiobook "Brick" by filmmaker and screenwriter Yermek Tursunov about our life, country and history.
3.The audiobook "Karashanirak" by Yermek Tursunov about the traditions and customs of the Kazakh people, many of which have been forgotten these days, is very informative and useful for both the younger generation and adults.
4.The audiobook "Successful Status. Lessons of Legal Reforms" by human rights activist and human rights expert Saule Mektepbayeva about legal reforms.
5.Audiobook "1 000 000 $ in investments on the fingers" by a professional financial literacy expert Daulet Armanovich on how to make a fortune without spending time on bidding and analysis, while not giving up your comfortable life.
6.An audiobook "The Art of Talking" by professional speaker Meruert Junusbek on the power of speech.
7.From the Kazakh folk wisdom of the tale "Ayaz bi" about how no matter how high a man has risen, it is necessary to remember who he was at the beginning of his journey.
We also recommend the world's best parables that contain the wisdom of different peoples, religions and generations, where everyone will find something important for themselves. Among them, we can separately highlight the Christian "Great Humility," the Jewish "Why Study" and the Buddhist "Enlightenment.
- Is the app in demand at the moment?
- The demo is being tested now, and we plan to release the first version of the app in early 2022. But we already have an audience that is eagerly awaiting the release of our project. The production of audiobooks is going on every day, without stopping; we have already recorded more than 350 works.
- What are your future plans for improvement/promotion of the service?
- There are a lot of plans. We will add the product to the audience step by step by researching demand. So the main line will be the development of KITABU, establishing feedback with the audience, finding and recording new interesting audiobooks.
- What kind of support measures would you like to receive from Astana Hub?
- Astana Hub is a cool community of professionals. Not only startups, but also established big projects come here for support, and they find a lot of useful things to develop their business. That is why any support is interesting and valuable for us.
Project website: https://kitabu.kz/