Success Story

State College publishing company begins next chapter with help from Invent Penn State

A believer in education for all – in any format or platform accessible – Adelina Hristova obtained her Ph.D. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education in 2016 from the Penn State College of Education. She defended her dissertation on informal mobile learning among Romani women in Bulgaria.

Originally from Bulgaria, Hristova said education takes on many forms among different cultures. As part of her dissertation, she studied this group of Romani women’s mobile phone usage in their everyday learning. The experience showed her firsthand how technology can bridge gaps in learning opportunities when the complexity of technology usage is better understood.

After reviewing the findings, Hristova felt the content of her dissertation could impact more than just those in higher education. In 2017, Hristova decided to launch her own publishing agency in State College, called AzBukiVeri Publishing Agency (ABV Publishing), to publish her own dissertation in a more readable format for public consumption.

When naming her company, Hristova wanted to pay tribute to her Bulgarian roots by using the old Bulgarian alphabet that was created in the late 9th century, while still representing her new business adventure.

“I used AzBukiVeDi, the names of the three first letters of our old alphabet, and slightly changed the name of the third letter from VeDi to VeRi, to mean the plural ‘truth’ in Latin,” Hristova said.

The phrase not only emphasizes literacy with the term ‘buki’ meaning ‘letters,’ but as with the ABC’s, according to Hristova, “when we say, ‘start from abv,’ it means that you start something new from the very beginning.”

She added that while she has yet to publish her dissertation, her mission of making education and knowledge accessible is still being accomplished through the publishing agency.

To date, ABV Publishing has published 13 books from or by local and international authors in print, digital and audio formats. The published works range from children’s books, like “A to Z Animal Antics,” which is about rhyming with animals, and “The Castor Oil Rig Tales,” a book about environmental tales from the sea, to works for adults and teens.

With even more works lined up to publish at the start of 2023, Hristova said ABV Publishing was starting an exciting new chapter. She was planning a big marketing campaign, wanting to reach more authors and readers. However, she wasn’t sure where to start.

A member of the Penn State Alumni Association, she attended an alumni event where a Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultant spoke about small business resources for alumni. She decided to attend SBDC Day in March where she was introduced to Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank.

During her presentation at SBDC Day, Hay talked about the spring 2023 session of Digital TestLab.

“Digital TestLab serves as a valuable program for educating businesses about their customer’s digital journey and ensuring a clear call to action on each ad and website,” says Hay. “Our approach involves running targeted digital ads to drive traffic to websites while closely monitoring customer interactions through analytics.”

After being accepted into the Digital TestLab accelerator program, Hristova was able to run her first official paid Google and Facebook ads. She said the program taught her valuable digital marketing skills, including how to track Google analytics on her website.

“This was an amazing opportunity to really see how things are done,” said Hristova. “Digital TestLab was really informative. I received invaluable feedback which I incorporated both in my website structure and my ads.”

Participating in the Digital TestLab at Happy Valley LaunchBox – which is located on the second floor of the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College – also introduced Hristova to OriginLabs, Happy Valley’s newest prototyping and fabrication space located on the first and mezzanine floors of the same building.

Hristova had been looking into 3D printing options to print both a solid and flexible version of Veri, the publishing company’s mascot, for marketing purposes. She was excited to learn about the 3D printing capabilities OriginLabs offers.

“Being a publishing agency that publishes and presents children’s books at local libraries and book fairs, we found out that our stuffed mascot Veri is very popular among kids and parents when stopping at our booth,” Hristova said. “Having Veri in a smaller size and 3D-printed as a giveaway was part of our 2023-2024 marketing plan. OriginLabs helped us turn this into a reality.”

The staff at OriginLabs was able to laser scan the stuffed animal mascot, converting the data into a 3D print-ready file.

“We used the file to generate two samples, one full-color solid version, and one version using a flexible resin,” said OriginLabs Shop Manager Jose Nunez. “The flexible resin was not in color, but it gave Adelina a sense of what a short prototyping run in flexible materials might look and feel like.”

Hristova said the multicolor Veri print looks exactly like the original mascot. She plans to continue working with OriginLabs to develop other versions of the mascot.

“Both Elizabeth and Jose were easy to communicate with, accessible, and very professional,” said Hristova. “By connecting with these two teams, I now have a better vision of the pathway forward for my business, and I am so happy that I found the wealth of resources we have here in State College.”

About Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank

Happy Valley LaunchBox, located on the second floor of the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College, provides early-stage startups with support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth. No-cost programs and services can include coworking space, accelerator programs, legal and intellectual property resources, and expert mentorships from Penn State’s extensive network. LaunchBox is open to everyone — community members and those affiliated with Penn State. Happy Valley LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation spaces located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania. Learn more.

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.

About OriginLabs

Located at the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College, OriginLabs provides access to world-class prototyping facilities to students and faculty from across campus, as well as members of the public from State College and beyond. The OriginLabs facilities enhance the suite of resources available to researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in the region in the form of sophisticated equipment, free workshops, and expert advice and technical guidance.

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.