Trevor Santarius

Trevor Santarius has always consumed a variety of written material, from books to newsletters to online blogs and more. 

In his consumption of text-based media, Santarius (pictured above) imagined the excitement that could come from turning these writings into a more interactive tool. So Santarius took his brother-in-law — software engineer Luke Southard — under his wing to help him create BookScape. 

BookScape is a software-based product designed to bring a more immersive and visual aspect to reading. The product has both a mobile application and a browser-based version that takes an excerpt of text and turns it into an illustrative work of art. Once available for purchase, BookScape will be a recurring subscription-based software so users can easily create and store their illustrations online. 

BookScape was a finalist for the 2021 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which will wrap up at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference June 2-3.

The software uses a library of three-dimensional models to build the visualized environment, using artificial intelligence to fill in information gaps. Users are then able to purchase that illustration in a physical hard copy or save it to their digital archive.

BookScape is targeting readers between the ages of 18 and 35 — groups adaptable to new digital technologies. 

BookScape will first aim promotional strategies toward parents of school-aged children between 6 and 19. 

“A student could input text from one of their history books and our software would give them an illustration that better helps them engage with and visualize that historical event,” Santarius said. 

Promotional tools and strategies that will be used in building BookScape’s identity will involve applications such as Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram. BookScape expects to reach its target audience using digital marketing campaigns through these platforms. 

In terms of distinguishing the company from the competition, Santarius described a few unique aspects of BookScape. 

One feature is the versatility of the software. Not only is he personally an active reader of traditional books, but Santarius reads a good number of other textual works. BookScape can take text from almost any source and turn it into a personalized illustration. 

It’s also more personalized and accessible than other similar products. Customers will be able to create an avatar and alter their illustrations as desired on BookScape, further distinguishing it from competitors such as movies or video games. Additionally, it will be a faster and cheaper alternative to physical drawings that are currently available. 

BookScape has launched its early product, and Santarius hopes to begin generating revenue by late 2021. The biggest stepping-stone will be in the third quarter of 2021, which will involve integrating the BookScape algorithm into a tangible software product for customers. This will be where Southard’s skills come in handy in creating a software language, which brings users’ texts to life. 

“Part of what makes BookScape so exciting is that although it fits perfectly with converting books or short stories into illustrations, the options of what content you input into the software are endless,” Santarius said.

-By Jordan Bogaty

Bogaty is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.

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