As the school year gets going, kids rarely have time to read for pleasure, so to bring out yet another magazine aimed at educating and entertaining kids seems like a fool’s errand. But literature is a passionate subject for bibliophiles, and that passion is very evident in Glo Adventurer, a magazine that, as the creators describe it, “helps children discover and connect with India in a fun and engaging way.”
Though the mission is somewhat schlocky, the magazine is anything but. I had the opportunity to look over the first two issues of the magazine, one on the Bengal tiger and the other on Indian railways, and the two issues were just wonderfully done. Filled with information and facts and games, the books are perfectly targeted to the young reader segment, perhaps children between 7 and 12. Each issue is like a highly entertaining encyclopedia entry, giving the interested child a depth of information on the topic without making it boring or complicated.
Glo Adventurer is the brainchild of Deepa Bala in Seattle and Swami Ganesan in Chennai, with a variety of contributors around the world, testifying to the new publishing world where physical proximity is no longer necessary. Like many other similar ventures ( MeeraMasi immediately comes to mind) this one too was born out of a mother’s need to communicate Indian culture and history to her children. When Deepa could not find anything existent that was suitable for a child used to high quality materials like Zoobooks and National Geographic for kids (which Glo Adventurer most resembles), she decided to create a magazine of her own.
Much thought has gone into Glo Adventurer, not just in terms of content but also long term focus, which is why the team has set up a Kids Advisory Board that provides ideas and feedback. Apart from the regular team, a review team looks over the magazine just before it goes into print to make sure everything is perfect. Such attention to detail is visible in the high production and editorial quality of the magazine and each issue feels like a keeper.
While the creators have got down the production part absolutely right, the marketing is quite another matter. Having seen many such endeavors bite the dust, I was more than a little curious about how the Glo Adventure team planned to tackle the sales. After all, our family is one of the very few I know who subscribe to more than one kid’s magazine.
Deepa acknowledges that this is a challenge. One interesting approach the team has taken is to treat Glo Adventurer not so much as a periodical but a series of published books, each of which can sell on its own merits. The issue on Bengal tigers, for example, is sure to be attractive to zoos and natural history museums across the world, while the one on Indian railways would be attractive to other kids of museums. Both are library quality so that would be another source of sales. Making sure the issue is not dated in any way ensures its longevity. Though the book has created an early buzz in India, the primary market is outside India, and the team is keen to be a part of the mainstream book distribution here in the U.S., not an easy task by any means.
Says Deepa, “The business model took us a while to figure out. Our confidence arises from the sense that we have found the right timing. There is so much buzz about Indian and so much interest in learning more about it. We think the economics will definitely work.” A free sample on the site encourages new readers to try out the book. Given the quality, the team is confident that trials will lead to subscriptions.
Adds Deepa, “I have a vested interest in this, since I feel I am leaving a legacy for my son. But this, hopefully, is a wonderful journey for other kids too.”
A one year subscription to the magazine (10 issues) costs $35.95 (shipping included). And of course, there is the free sample. If you have a kid in that age range, do check it out. It might be just the thing to entice your child away from the computer.