How One Minnesota Startup is Building a Better Book


Flying WordA new local startup called Flying Word has created an interactive mobile publishing platform designed for literary-based content you can see, hear, and touch.

The technology enhances new and existing works to include 3D graphics and animations, audio tracks, ambient noise,  sound effects, and touch control that enable readers to experience traditional words in a brand new way.

“Reading plain text is so 16th Century,” jokes  CEO and co-founder Joe Weber. “We foster interactivity and engagement for the 21st century. The transformation of text from print into a feasibly portable electronic device was a big step…3D and kinetic are the next evolution.”

Together with co-founder Richard Monson-Haefel and a “geographically distributed team of around a dozen developers,” the Lake Elmo headquartered startup quietly launched last fall with initial test product based on a title we’re all familiar with: Treasure Island.

Currently integrated with both iOS and Android OS, the technology is soon to be available on Amazon’s Kindle Barnes and Nobles Nook.

Forrester Research recently pegged the e-book market at $3 billion by 2015, although Weber is equally bullish on “other vertically aligned scenarios” for the patent pending technology.  Beyond the basic entertainment aspect of interactive books, modern education environments — from pre-school to beyond grad school — are ripe overdue for a less expensive and more intuitive learning platform.

Working with individual authors and large content license holders, revenue currently comes from the direct sales of books produced and/or published, as well as  royalties.   “In the future, educational organizations will be able to purchase both a subscription to unique content as well as access a host of proprietary information that will help them better educate,” he says speaking to the bigger picture.

Flying Word’s next chapter includes solidifying a strategic board and raising another round of funding.