Select Page
Episode 157 | The Little Bookmates Smart Library as a Literacy Initiatitive

This episode will air on Saturday July 8, at noon EDT.

The Little Bookmates Smart Library as a Literacy Initiative with Ariadna Trapote and Federico Suarez.

If the large majority of printed books in the world are in many households’ bookshelves, why not share these effectively instead of having them sitting idly for 99% of the time? Through a subscription model, lean algorithms and hard copy books, Little Bookmates’ clients have already read more than 100k books across Mexico, Colombia and soon the US. What started as a small-scale enterprise in Ari’s house has grown into a franchise model with a powerful platform that can virtually turn any living room in the world into a book lending hub.

In 2017, Ari and Fede created Little Bookmates. It works as a library at home for Mexican families. Our goal is to help families to create long-lasting memories by providing printed books in the native language to read with their children. We have found that, when kids read at home without the academic pressure, it’s more likely they will start reading for fun, which will result in a love of reading.

Little Bookmates is a subscription business, where our algorithm assigns the right next books for each child, administered by our platform. Each month families receive their books at home and are rotated to new ones over the next month. So far, we have sent more than 100,000 books across Mexico, with an office space of less than 3 hundred square feet and higher book rotation than any public library in Mexico.  After the pandemic, we created franchises, so now we are still lending books but with zero office space.  That is how we can scale this model anywhere; we have an active franchise in Colombia and a pending one in Spain, in addition to the 4 operating in Mexico.

This month we are starting our new endeavor focused on the US market: 311Literacy. Over 10 million Hispanic students in US public schools read below grade level. Research shows that 67% of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or welfare. We help kids to love to read, so they can read to learn. We do this through an integrated student-centered solution that sends a tailored series of bilingual books to their homes. Subscribers will also get support by mentors and an online reading platform with assessment tools. Through 311Literacy children are able to increase their reading abilities so they can have a brighter future, while teachers can be relieved of some of their work in personalizing instruction.

More about our guests below the video


Readings and Resources:
Note from Publishing Perspectives

Episode Guests

Ariadna Trapote

Born and raised in Mexico City, after completing a BA in Actuarial Science at ITAM, Ariadna worked almost 6 years for BBVA Bancomer where she was portfolio manager for equity markets. Ari also holds a Diploma in Econometrics (ITAM, Mexico) and a Masters in Pensions (U. Alcalá, Spain).

In 2013 Ari moved to Cambridge, MA with her family (spouse, two children and dog) to study a Masters in Finance at Harvard University. While studying in Harvard, she devised her book lending concept. One of her favorite activities was to take her children to the Cambridge Public Library so, when it was time to come back to Mexico, she didn’t want her kids to lose the habits of reading together every night and practicing the English language. Public libraries were far from her house (almost two hours each way), and printed books were expensive to buy, with limited options of books in English. So Ari created Little Bookmates: a way to have access to hundreds of different books, at your doorstep, at affordable prices. This way, her children still ask to spend time together reading books every night while learning about different topics through a world of books.

Federico Suárez

Born and raised in Mexico City, Fede’s background in Engineering and his high energy have taken him across the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While studying engineering, Federico worked in camps as a staff member and rapidly became director and consultant for many camps in Mexico and abroad. He also launched a company serving them with doctors and health insurance.

A bit later, he was pulled into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As such, he expanded a smart mobility company across Latam that was acquired by BlaBlaCar. Subsequently he launched a couple of tech startups, one of which strove to measure reading. His passion for reading and learning resulted in his partnering with Ari; they have been working together for the last 6 years.