Featured Startup Pitch: Born out of the pursuit of a dream in the face of tragedy, Lucky Penny Press is a children’s e-book publisher with a ‘give-back’ philosophy

By Editor September 9, 2013
Melissa Marsted, Lucky Penny Press

Melissa Marsted, Lucky Penny PressBy Melissa C. Marsted, Lucky Penny Press founder

Elevator Pitch: Lucky Penny Press is a children’s e-book publishing company with illustrated books to nurture the creative spirit and inspire the imagination.

Our Products

Lucky Penny Press publishes e-books for children three-to-ten years old, and written by both adults and children. All of the e-books are published in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, and Chinese, and have professionally recorded audio versions. All of the e-books advocate messages and lessons that focus on nurturing the creative spirit, introducing new cultures and empowering children to believe in their dreams. Many of the themes of our e-books focus on stories of adventure, nature, culture and the environment. As part of LPP’s cultural fabric, each e-book is connected to a non-profit organization which receives a portion of the proceeds.

Founder’s Story

The idea for Lucky Penny Press came about at the time of the Santa Barbara Tea Fire (November, 2008), when I lost my house and hundreds of children’s books in the fire. I dreamed of publishing my own children’s picture book, Pablito and the Speckled Bear, which came to fruition in late-2009. This book became the true genesis of Lucky Penny Press. First there was a Lucky Penny Press app, then we decided we wanted to retain more of the control of our customers and our products, as well as retain all of our own profits. On 11/1/11, we launched our current website with just a few books. We now have over 50 products for sale, including e-books with language translations and audio.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

As a former fundraiser for non-profit organizations, and the desire to give back in a similar way as TOMS Shoes, for example, Lucky Penny Press authors each chose a non-profit affiliation. Lucky Penny Press also works with child-based companies and restaurants to offer e-book giveaways. For example, with a children’s shoe store called Kids Corner in Santa Barbara, California, Lucky Penny Press offers a free e-book for every new pair of children’s shoes purchased.

We are in the midst of creating a partnership with a print publishing company to allow authors the opportunity to have a printed version of their books with Amazon’s Create Space print-on-demand.

We also load each book on iTunes to assist authors in more widespread distribution.

Market Opportunity

Lucky Penny Press was founded on the principle that every penny matters. As a long distance runner, I consistently find pennies and other coins on my runs and pick them up to trust that the future is e-books. All of the books are set at one price—$4.99—which is much lower than a printed book. Lucky Penny Press e-books last forever on an e-reader, and an e-reader can quickly become a full library for teachers or parents to take from class-to-class or in the car or on a plane.

We are working on additional corporate affiliations with companies that share our corporate culture and philosophy such as TOMS Shoes, Clif Bars, Teva Shoes and Whole Foods.

How Our Company Differentiates From the Competition

Lucky Penny Press is working with new and emerging authors and illustrators to load their works to our website and make them available to our customers in an efficient and economical process. In the past, many writers would submit their manuscripts to a large publishing house in New York City and wait months, even years, to hear a response. We are able to respond to daily requests, and as soon as we have a contract in place, the manuscript and illustrations are merged to create a work of art by our art director and then loaded to both our website and iTunes. In addition, we offer language translations and audio recordings, which we hope to expand as our company grows.

We pride our company on the non-profit partnerships. We allow each other author to choose the non-profit organization that is affiliated with the book and Lucky Penny Press offers a percentage of the sales to the non-profit.

Lucky Penny Press also publishes books by-kids for-kids. When children mature out of picture books and often do not have the creative writing time at school, Lucky Penny Press offers older children (ages 12-to-18) the opportunity to publish their books with our company.

Business Model

Lucky Penny Press hopes to tap into the growing e-book market with affordable e-books for families. We are also beginning a new partnership with a standard book publishing company to offer a book package that would provide authors with his/her book on Amazon’s Create Space, print on demand, on Kindle, on the Lucky Penny Press e-commerce site, and on iTunes. Authors will have the opportunity to add language translations and audio to their book packages.

Lucky Penny Press plans to reach out to additional traditional book publishers that share similar messages to offer the e-book version for their authors.

Current Needs

Lucky Penny Press spent much of the past six months gathering inventory to get to a place where the company could feel good about the collection of stories and the process we have in place to create them and load them to our site. Now is the time to look at how the site functions for the users and how we can make the site more user-friendly. We have been working on national exposure with a New York-based public relations company and have had consistent press for nearly six months. We are also looking at how to optimize our search engine and have brought on more help with this as well as launching a new blog at www.luckypennyebooks.com .


Lucky Penny Press_logoWebsite: www.luckypennypress.com

Founder: Melissa C. Marsted

Headquarters: Park City, Utah

Year Founded: 2011

Twitter: @luckypennypress

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/lucky-penny-press/182983878395960

Angel List: angel.co/lucky-penny-press