Funding plan

Audio book startup unveils publisher deals

Deals booked: Rebecca Lundgren and Tom Williams

An Edinburgh-based startup has announced a number of content deals with UK publishing houses for its innovative screen-free audio book player for children.

Founded by couple Rebecca Lundgren and Tom Williams, the Voxblock player allows children to take a favourite ‘block’ from their bookshelf, insert it and listen to the story – without the distractions of wifi connections, screens, passwords or ‘how to’ videos.

Voxblock had a soft launch at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival and there are plans for Harper Collins, Hachette and Scholastic to create a library of audio books for the player based on children’s classics and modern stories.

Up to now the project has been funded by the founders and some financial support from Scottish Enterprise and they are looking to raise external funding in the next six months.

The couple’s ‘lightbulb moment’ was seeing their pre-school daughter’s love of listening to Rebecca’s childhood audio books on an old cassette player.

After two years of development, with design and manufacture mainly in Scotland, Voxblock has transformed the idea into a platform for the modern age.

Printed circuit boards are made in Galashiels by Stewart Technologies, the plastic case is manufactured by Glossbrook in Bathgate, the book covers printed by Lothian Labels in Livingston and the books made in Cambridge by Greenfield Printing.

The global audiobooks market is expected to see compound growth of about 26% annually (Deloitte 2020) and the fastest growth being reported is the children’s segment.

Ms Lundgren said: ‘‘We’re extremely proud to be launching the results of two years of creative design, planning and partnership development with some brilliant publishers across the country.

“Much like the growing appreciation the world now has for vinyl records or film cameras, there’s something very simple, intuitive and deeply satisfying about picking up a book.”

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