KidPub Turns 18
Posted February 12th, 2013 by perryd
Thanks to everyone for the birthday greetings! It's been an amazing eighteen years...KidPub has grown from a small Linux computer in my living room with a few web pages on it to this incredible worldwide community of amazing young writers; from just a few visitors a week to over 3,000 visitors a day! I get email now from parents who were members back in the '90s and have kids who have grown up with KidPub. How crazy is that?
For readers who don't know the story of KidPub, here is the short version. Back in the mid 1990s I was working at a large computer company, Digital Equipment Corporation. One of my jobs was to do research on a brand new thing, something called the World Wide Web. I decided that the best way to figure out how it worked was to create my own web site. I had a friend whose daughter loved to write, and I made a little page to post her stories. Back then there were only 10,000 or so web sites in existence...now there are more than 200 million. I started receiving email from other kids who liked to write, asking if I would post -their- story, too. Pretty soon there were dozens, then hundreds, then THOUSANDS of stories posted from kids all over the world.
And it's just kept growing.
Like Dr. Who, there have been several versions of KidPub. The original pages looked pretty comical...I hand-drew the logo, and I didn't really know how to format a web page, so everything had a grey background. Stories were sent in by email, and I tried to format them as best I could before posting them. Around 2000 or so the entire site was rebuilt, and then again around 2008. There was a 'notebook' theme that we used for a couple of years, and finally what you see now was created.
Here's the original logo:
KidMUD, by the way, appeared for the first time in 1996. The first version was destroyed by an evil player, and it was rebuilt several times. The current version was created in 2005.
For many years, KidPub was just a hobby. In 2008 I decided to devote my efforts full-time to it and the new KidPub Press book publishing company. Now we have a small staff, and the little computer in my living room has been replaced by a rack of servers in a datacenter in Los Angeles. We've become the largest publisher of books by kids with over 300 titles in print, and KidPub was featured last April in a front-page New York Times story on kids and publishing. By the end of this year we're projecting growth to 5,000 visitors each day at kidpub.com and 450 book titles in print.
It's been an incredible ride for the past 18 years and I can't wait to write the post for our 20th anniversary. And our 25th. And our 40th.
Through all those years, the one thing that has been constant is you, our members and visitors. I simply love reading all your stories, comments, arguments, posts, and everything else. I am incredibly proud of our members. Frankly, you just amaze me with your writing and the way you create KidPub in your own image. My philosophy is that kids are good people, and what I do is give you the tools to express yourself and then just step back to see what happens. It's a big, ever-changing family and every morning I wake up excited to see what you've come up with.
Thank you so much for making KidPub something special. All of you.