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April 22, 2012

G is for geek: kids get ABC for today’s world Alpha-beta learning

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JESSICA SUTTON

Andrew and Sarah SpearA Palmerston North couple’s “geeky” children’s alphabet book is getting international attention, with more than 1500 copies sold and 2000 iPad and iPhone apps downloaded.

A for apple and B for ball is no longer the way Andrew and Sarah Spear teach their children the alphabet. Instead Caitlin, 4, and Sophie, 1, learn their ABCs using the book their parents wrote for them called My Little Geek – where A is for android and B is for binary.

From Palmerston North to Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, the book is being sold all over the world, including on websites Amazon and American site thinkgeek.com, and the Spears have a distribution centre in the United States and another in their spare room.

The couple launched the book in August last year, and it became an iPhone and iPad apple app a few weeks ago, where parents can buy the book on iTunes for $4.19 and read it to their children from the digital format.

So far, 2000 users have downloaded the free version – which is half of the book – and about 250 have bought the full version.

More than 1500 hard copies have been sold in just over six months.

As a designer, programmer, and entrepreneur, Mr Spear – who owns three web-based companies in Palmerston North – said all the alphabet books he had been reading his children were the same.

“As a techie myself, and having a lot of techie friends, I noticed there weren’t many different ABC books for kids,” he said.

So, the couple wrote their own.

“It’s amazing how well it’s doing.

“At this rate we will become profitable about this time next year.”

It took the couple eight-and-a-half months to write and produce the book.

“It was pretty full-on, with running three companies and raising two little girls,” Mr Spear said.

Mrs Spear was a primary school teacher at Roslyn School before becoming a fulltime mother in 2008.

She said creating the book had been a fantastic experience and she loved being part of their new “hobby”.

“I’m in charge of the distribution, so I’m always down at the post office,” she said.

“We’ve sold copies to a comic book store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and I sent another book to some in Eastern Europe the other day, think it was Romania,” Mrs Spear said.

She was also a finalist in the Manawatu Innovate competition last year with their book.

“Thinkgeek.com bought 500 copies off us just from reading the first page.

“It’s been a group project for us and the first we’ve ever done together but we’re pretty happy with how it’s going,” Mr Spear said.

You can see the book and purchase directly from the Spears website here: http://www.mylittlegeek.com/

 

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