What we do

Drawing on our professional experience in software development, marketing and publishing we've set up Oh Zoe! to take advantage of technological progress in the world of digital print. We print each and every book on demand, with each story made up of a unique combination of both words and illustrations. Our website allows the customer to personalise the characters names and traits within the story, and then select from a range of illustrations which most closely match the child the book is written for. Customers may wish to commission illustrators to draw special one-off characters to more closely match their child, and this service is available for the majority of titles. Additionally, limited edition prints and original artworks are on sale through the site for those customers wanting an extra special gift.

Who we are

We're Matt and Katharine Harbord - a husband and wife team with a wide range of experience. Katharine has worked in publishing and marketing, most recently as marketing manager for an international luxury jewellery brand. Matt has worked as a quantitative analyst, software developer and project manager. We're ably assisted by Tina Lee, a commissioning editor with many years of experience in children's publishing, and also our head of quality assurance, Isabella, who has 18 months of life experience and knows a good book when she sees it.

How we work

Our vision for the future is simple - create a product which breaks down the barriers to entry for new talent. We think there is room in the market to improve the old system, and while self publishing and print on demand removes some of the barriers, we think more can be done.

Our site allows authors and illustrators to partner together to create great work. Once your story is created we do the hard work of marketing, print, fulfilment, and customer services. The author and illustrator get a commission on every order placed, whether that be for the original book, a personalised version, or limited edition giclee prints for the nursery wall.

Personalisation

Because we're using digital printers we have the opportunity to personalise every pixel - the old style "personalised" books would be printed with a space left for the child's name to eventually be overprinted but our method is different. When a book is personalised with us we create a one-off print pdf generated exactly for the requested content; we inspect each one manually and make changes to the layout of the text to ensure a high quality product.

And if you're going to create a one-off for the text, why not alter the illustrations too? Illustrators are asked to submit their work in several layers, a background, foreground and character layer. We ask our illustrators to create several variants of each character - varying gender, skin tone, body shape, hair style - when the customer commissions a book they can choose which character most closely resembles the child the book is for. The software renders their choice, along with the text, into a print ready pdf.

Our printers are set up so that all titles are printed during the same run. The consequence of this is that each and every book we sell must follow the same format - the same paper quality, the same size, the same number of pages. It is only by sticking to this format can we keep prices reasonable. At our estimated print rates and costs we will be able to sell the books at a typical market rate for personalised work - we won't be able to compete with large run traditional print selling at £5 per book, but we think our illustrators, authors and product are worth much more than that anyway.