A Digital Library for the Children: An Interview with PiBo's Founder Mayumi Haryoto and Aisha Habir

Updated: Mar 15

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many of us to stay at home, work, and learn from there. And to many of us, staying at home for quite a long time can be really challenging - especially for the children.

One way to keep our children entertained is by reading. Luckily there are good options to do so online. And one of the platforms that are available is BacaPiBo, an online digital library for kids released by PiBo. We speak with Aisha Habir and Mayumi Haryoto, the founder of PiBo, to get to know more about their platform.

Can you please let us know why did you decide to start BacaPiBo?

We see the potential and importance of children’s books in Indonesia. For Mayumi, from the perspective of strengthening the industry for content creators. While from me, for education, as I come from a family of educators. In short, we both find a bigger purpose in this endeavor. The country’s low reading interest, especially among children, is our main concern.

(Literasia Creativa)
Mayumi Haryoto and Aisha Habir of PiBo

Why the name PiBo? Does it have a special meaning?

No, it doesn't really have any particular meaning or philosophy. We wanted something short and easy to remember. At the same time, we knew it needed to sound fun and evoked a playful emotion of our target audience, that way we can communicate the brand in a lighthearted way. The name PiBo, quite simply, derives from ‘Pi’ from Picture and ‘Bo’ from Book. We believe in the magic of picture books in inspiring the love of reading.

What kind of books is available on your digital library platform, BacaPiBo? We publish children’s content for the age of 4-12 years old, mainly in Bahasa Indonesia.

What makes your platform different from others?

Depends on who you are comparing us to, perhaps.

But I think what differentiates us the most is our focus. From the user interface, tone of voice, choice of language, the user experience, our platform is designed with Indonesian children as our main audience in mind. Our environment is safe, visually appealing, and fun for kids.

Another is the fact that bacapibo.com is a marketplace. Our library collection consists of children’s books from numerous local and international publishers, including self-published and indie publishers, besides our original titles. A library should never limit the richness in different perspectives and ideas, on the contrary, it should encourage it.

What can readers expect from BacaPiBo?

An ever-growing library of curated children’s contents, especially in Bahasa Indonesia, with plenty of variety and local relevance. 

What can authors or publishers expect from BacaPiBo?

An alternative channel to that of traditional publishing to reach a wider audience faster and cheaper, enabled by technology.

How's the journey so far? What are the challenges you faced, and how did you guys overcome it?

Rocky haha... As with any tech product, it requires capital investment and continuous improvements. We’ve gone through many trials and errors as well as learning curves. Even now after a couple of years, we are still continuously learning and hope we are doing it fast enough.

What's the most rewarding for you in running BacaPiBo?

To hear honest (and positive) remarks from the children.

How do you think the children's books publishing industry here differs from the rest of the region? (Southeast Asia) 

The geographical condition of Indonesia’s archipelago presents one of the key challenges (as well as a source of inspiration) for the publishing industry here. In recent years, the number and quality of Indonesia’s children’s books produced have increased considerably, but (local) distribution is not improving at the same rate. Hence our choice for a digital solution.

How do you promote and market your platform? 

We promote through a combination of digital and traditional channels -from social media to corporate partnerships. We are open to collaborating with all parties who share our vision of a more literate future for Indonesia and our belief in children's books.

What direction do you think the children's books publishing will be going to?

Just like any other industry, it will make a shift towards digital, and concepts like global citizenship and sharing economy might become more relevant. In my opinion, children’s book publishing will be a more specialized industry and content themes will be more diverse as the world gets more complex.

What are your plans for PiBo in near future? 

We have developed and recently launched the BacaPiBo School account, in addition to our family account. Furthermore, we are also working on adding gamification and other new exciting features to our platform.

Lastly but most importantly, we hope to acquire more quality children’s content from within and outside the country to keep inspiring all the little readers and their curious minds.

You may check their online platform and subscribe here: www.bacapibo.com

#bacapibo #mayumiharyoto #aishahabir