Israel’s Castle Builders Brings Top Kids Brands to Book Apps

In Children's by Dennis Abrams

“BooClips are the perfect hybrid of book and DVD…offering maximum interactivity and multimedia.”

By Dennis Abrams

ISRAEL: Based in the Israeli industrial zone of Petah Tikva, Castle Builders has spent the six years since its inception developing digital books for children, while at the same time perfecting a technology that allows them to embed raw content in the form of text, sounds and movies with the intent of creating what they envisioned as a unique plat6form that would generate a multimedia online-book application.

The work has paid off. The end of 2011 saw the launch of the company’s new site,, which allows parents to download their children’s favorite story books into their iPad, Android tablet, PC, or Mac. And with collaborations with companies such as DreamWorks Animations (Kung Fu Panda 2), LazyTown, Paws (Garfield), Sanrio (Hello Kitty), and The Kids Animated Bible Stories, success was immediate. LazyTown’s BooClips was #1 in the US within six days of its release, Garfield’s BooClips made it to #4 (as well as #5 in China and #1 in Hong Kong), and the Kung Fu Panda 2 Interactive Cookbook got to #17 in both the Books and Lifestyle category.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Castle Builder’s CEO Gil Abramovich:

Every company says that they have a unique platform:  What makes yours different?  How do you stand apart from the others?

I think that the BooClips are the perfect hybrid of book and DVD, taking advantage of the wonderful content while offering maximum interactivity and multimedia. The latest version of our platform can generate digital books that are cross platform, meaning compatible with iPad, the PC, the Mac, and the Android. In other words, in contrast with other companies, today, we are in a position to develop a BooClip that is compatible with the iPad, Android (for most sizes), PC, Mac and Nook, in under 2 days. In addition, the word for word synching of the narration is relatively automatic and takes about 10 minutes to generate.

As for our store itself, it is quite a technological breakthrough in terms of digital stores for interactive books in general; putting all the books and customers and management tools aside, we offer the child or the parent the opportunity to record himself/herself narrating the story out loud, as one of the characters and sync it, while adding the background music and special effects to it. That function is cross platform, and is a feature that I have yet to encounter on other digital books for the PC. The site is the perfect solution both for readers with an iPad and Android tablets, but also for readers who do not own a tablet and wish to access our interactive books via the PC or the Mac.

In addition to all these great features that the apps offer, our digital store knows from which device the reader is logging in from and points him to the app that would run on his tablet. That makes the user’s lives so much easier nowadays, when you have so many designated digital app stores for the multitude of e-readers and tablets in the market. At the same time, the store recognizes the reader’s monitor size, allowing an optimal experience for any dimension while balancing between the monitor size and the book (in a manner that doesn’t leave empty margins on widescreens). In addition, the download of the large multimedia files is done from the nearest servers to the geographical location of the reader for a smoother downloading experience.

Where do you see your company going in the next five years?

I can tell you that over 6 years ago, we knew exactly where the market was heading, which is why today we are in the perfect position to offer our digital solutions to wonderful companies like DreamWorks, Sanrio, LazyTown and Paws Inc. In other words, in 5 years from now, we will be executing our strategic plans for the market, based on how we see the future in our vision and imagine it looking 5 years from now, today.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.