Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids
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Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids
Interesting news, reviews & trends in children's digital publishing from founder of Digital-Storytime
Curated by Carisa Kluver
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2011 AAP Policy Statement - Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years

The temptation to rely on media screens to entertain babies and toddlers is more appealing than ever, with screens surrounding families at home, in the car, and even at the grocery store. And there is no shortage of media products and programming targeted to little ones. But a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, www.aap.org) says there are better ways to help children learn at this critical age.

 

On average, children this age watch televised programs one to two hours per day. By age 3, almost one third of children have a television in their bedroom. Parents who believe that educational television is "very important for healthy development" are twice as likely to keep the television on all or most of the time.

 

This policy statement, ''Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years," was be released on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Boston and will be published in the November 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online Oct. 18). In this video Ari Brown,.MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy, discusses the recommendations of this report during the 2011 AAP National Conference held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

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You’re Invited to a Party! | Touch and Go

You’re Invited to a Party! | Touch and Go | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Please join me and Kathy Ishizuka, School Library Journal’s technology editor, and the folks at Ruckus Mobile Media for a twitter party this Wednesday evening, October 19th, 9:00-10:00 pm EST.

 

The topic is Digital Storytelling and Libraries and we’ll be there to add our two cents; we hope you will take part in the conversation. We’d love to hear how you are using apps in your schools and public libraries, what works and doesn’t, and why. It’s an open invitation, so be sure to tell your colleagues and anyone you know who’s interested in apps and enhanced books for children and teens about the event.

 

Did I mention that there will be PRIZES? To be eligible for the giveaways (including subscriptions to SLJ and The Horn Book Magazine) you must preregister for the event.

Here are the details: The hashtag for the event is #RuckusSLJ on Twitter. Kathy and I will be tweeting at @sljournal and @kishizuka. Please spread the word!

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From First Draft to Finished Product: The Making of Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure

From First Draft to Finished Product: The Making of Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Several weeks ago we featured one of Roxie Munroe’s apps by OCG Studios for App Friday. While working with the developers on the promotion, I was introduced to their blog describing how these apps were was made.

 

They documented every step in detail, along with a photo journal and descriptive explanations. This process is an eye-opener for anyone interested in creating an app.

 

To view the complete archive, visit the PORTFOLIO on their blog, here: http://www.ocgstudios.com/roxies-a-maze-ing-vacation-adventure/portfolio-1/.

 

 

For a brief pictorial summary, see the photos, which are linked to the individual explanations for each step ...

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Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing

Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.

 

Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers.

 

It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.

Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.

 

Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon’s efforts. “Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” said Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.

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Why the A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work Video Is Ridiculous | GeekDad | Wired.com

The latest “isn’t technology amazing how it changes children” video meme has been doing the round on the interwebs. If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out above. It is a video of a one-year-old girl who has been allowed to use an iPad; we then get footage of her trying to use multitouch gestures on a magazine. The video is a fine example of a young child’s fine motor skills in mid development, but the claims made by the uploader of the video demonstrates our limited understanding of user experience design, the significance of the multitouch gesturing that Apple is so fiercely protecting at the moment and why anyone developing media and tools for children in this space should learn about early childhood development.

The incorrect claim made accompanying the video is this ...
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Digital-Storytime.com, the premier source of information about digital children’...

Digital-Storytime.com, the premier source of information about digital children’... | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it
Digital-Storytime.com, the premier source of information about digital children’s books for iPad, is proud to announce a new site look with great functionality for parents, educators and fans of enhanced picture book apps.
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Frankfurt Book Fair 2011: Europeans, Americans Talk Digital Future in Frankfurt

Frankfurt Book Fair 2011: Europeans, Americans Talk Digital Future in Frankfurt | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

At a well-attended, hour-long session called ‘Is the US EBook phenomenon a harbinger of every country's book future?’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair Wednesday morning, Google Books’s Tom Turvey questioned a panel of executives, from both the U.S. and Europe, about where the digital market is, and where it’s headed. Among the main topics were: devices, pricing and rights.

 

Most panelists agreed that, as in the U.S., the European market will likely be device driven and that book retailers abroad, as the case has proven in the States, will need their own e-reader to be competitive. Bloomsbury executive director Richard Charkin said that in the UK this is indeed the case, with Amazon overwhelmingly dominating the market with its Kindle. Charkin also noted that the country’s big chain retailer, Waterstone’s, is set to announce its own reader in the coming weeks, proving a company does need a device to stay competitive in digital sales.

 

Although some panelists were more squeamish than others when Turvey asked everyone to estimate what percentage of their revenue now comes from digital, and how much of their backlist is available in digital, a few statistics were offered ...

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Companies target children's tablet aptitude - Financial Times

Ask any parent who has recently bought an iPad and one of the first things they will tell you is how much their children love playing with the device. An international study this year suggested that while only 9 per cent of pre-school children can tie their shoelaces, about 20 per cent can play an app on a smartphone.

 

“Hand-eye co-ordination allows a child to use a tablet from around nine months onward,” says Gary Pope, co-founder of Kids Industries, the children’s research consultancy. “There is clearly a huge emerging market here.”

 

It is little surprise, therefore, that publishers and media companies are increasingly looking at producing content for tablets and phones that is aimed specifically at children.

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What Is The Future Of Digital Publishing? - Edudemic

What Is The Future Of Digital Publishing? - Edudemic | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

I remember reading ‘Goodnight Moon‘ and touching each piece of furniture and bending my neck a bit to try and find the cute little bunny hidden in the drawings. That was about as interactive as reading got in the 1980s. It’s only been over the past year or so that children’s books (and other books) have started to take huge steps forward thanks, of course, to the iPad and other tablets.

 

Leading the charge into the next generation of interactive book design is Robin Mitchell-Cranfield, of Vancouver Film School. I had the pleasure of attending Robin’s presentation at Adobe MAX Education Summit as well as speaking with her a bit later at Adobe MAX where she shed some light on what she’s working on, why she thinks books could forever change and why tablets have been the impetus for her to get so excited about the future of digital publishing.

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More School Libraries Offer Ebooks; Increased Demand, Rise in Circulation

More School Libraries Offer Ebooks; Increased Demand, Rise in Circulation | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

by Debra Lau Whelan October 13, 2011

 

Despite severe budget constraints, the number of school libraries offering ebooks is on the rise-and a majority of media specialists plan to add digital books to their collections over the next two years, says a new study by School Library Journal and Library Journal.

 

The 90-page report, "Ebooks the New Normal: Ebook Penetration & Use in U.S. School (K-12) Libraries" follows last year's findings that school libraries still lagged behind public and academic libraries in terms of ebook purchases-but that's slowly beginning to change.

 

A little less than half (44 percent) of our nation's school libraries offer ebooks, up from 33 percent last year. And the higher the grade, the more likely students found digital books in their libraries, with 71 percent of high school libraries, 55 percent of middle schools, and 35 percent of elementary schools currently offering them.

Of the 56 percent of libraries without ebooks, 22 percent say they plan to purchase them for their collections over the next two years. Still, in these tough economic times, a whopping 60 percent say adding ebooks isn't a priority, although they might consider buying them. Only 8 percent say they have no plans to add digital books to their libraries.

 

How much are librarians spending on ebooks? ... 

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Just how big is the market for children’s apps?

Just how big is the market for children’s apps? | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Our first feature this week is written by Amit and Srvidya of PixelMat Software, whose app “Clay 10” was just featured last App Friday. They discuss the growing popularity of tablet computers, their adoption in schools and with families, and the implications these devices will have on the mobile software industry.

 

Educational app developers, this is for you. Maybe your hard work is about to pay off ...

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Agents warn of e-book "reckoning" | The Bookseller

Agents warn of e-book "reckoning" | The Bookseller | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Literary agents speaking at Publishers Launch Frankfurt have challenged publishers to approach e-book royalty discussions in a more "knowledgeable" way or face a "reckoning" from the digital revolution. But there are signs of movement on the 25% royalty from UK publishers, with UK agent David Miller stating that he had negotiated better rates for some of his authors.


Robert Gottlieb, chairman of the US literary agency Trident Media Group [pictured], said publishers were still fixed in their traditional models. "American publishers have to get beyond the point when they are doing it the same way, over and over again," he said. "It means cutting overheads, and changing their dynamics, and welcoming as opposed to resisting or being frightened of this new e-book arena."


He said publishers should "embrace" the changes, and "then they'll be able to look at what they are paying their authors in a knowledgeable way, and we will then see the rate moving up". Gottlieb warned that new players such as Amazon had no such constraints and were "offering a higher e-book rate, and advances that are comparable with what others publishers are willing to pay".

 

He warned that publishers' grip on the business was "starting to change in favour of the author". He added: "Publishers are frightened to death of the e-book market, because they see the opportunity for authors, that they did not have before ...

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Digital Reading: At the Intersection of Reading and Retail | Digital Book World

Sometimes your point of view depends on where you’re standing. Publishers and booksellers focus on price points, bestseller lists and reorders to figure out what their customers want. Those on the editorial side of the equation look to customer reviews, direct feedback (when they can get it) and author-and-genre loyalty among buyers for insight into their readers’ preferences.

 

As Editorial Director for Digital Content at Barnes & Noble, Liz Scheier sees both sides of the digital publishing equation, with an unobstructed, front-row view of what readers want and how publishers and retailers can give it to them ...

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Internet Librarian 2011: Next Big Trends: Near Field Communication & Interactive Picture Books | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton

Internet Librarian 2011: Next Big Trends: Near Field Communication & Interactive Picture Books | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Gretchen Caserotti talked about interactive digital picture books. Just as with print books, with digital books picture books get checked out in huge “stacks” while other books may get checked out one or two at a time. The pricing for interactive picture books is very competitive – $1.99 for an app. There are millions of these out there…

 

Gretchen tried to demonstrate Overdrive’s eBooks but it wouldn’t appear on the screen (!!!). Hmmm… What makes a good app? Are there customizable features? Can you turn music on and off, resize it?

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Transcript for 10/16/11 #storyappchat: Liz Castro

We were grateful to have @LizCastro serving as guest host for this mind-blowing, fantastic chat–full of pithy opinions, terrific information and timely, appropriate questions.

 

If you didn’t get a chance to check out Liz’s site and blog earlier, now’s your chance. AND, Liz gave away a copy of her complete ePub creation suite–what a deal even at full price! Pore over the 25 pages in the transcript above if you don’t believe me–and remember to join us every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time for the next #storyappchat installment.

 

Speaking of the next installment, for the 10/23/11 #storyappchat we plan to cover the ins and outs of Social Media for Content Creators, a topic you won’t want to miss. Plus, we are planning to have a giveaway on a just-released storybook app–more details in a few days. See you there!

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The App Squad: SLJ's advisors weigh in on kids' book apps 

The App Squad: SLJ's advisors weigh in on kids' book apps  | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Making sense of book apps for kids—with a little help from our friends ... As SLJ formally begins reviewing kids’ book apps, we decided, heck, we could use some help. So we assembled a diverse group of advisors at our Soho office in New York to talk apps—what we like, what we should look for in discerning the best for kids and teens, and where this all might be headed.

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Response to Business Insiders’ Apple’s iBookstore Is Looking Like A Rare Flop

The iBookstore isn’t a failure because they haven’t seriously tried. However, the fact that Steve Jobs was interested in books at all is telling.

 

Apple has made no effort to seriously prioritize iBooks within their ecosystem. iOS devices don’t even ship with iBooks. All other Apple content stores are hardwired into iOS, even the upcoming Newsstand is included in iOS5. It is quite apparent that Apple only views iBooks only as one of hundreds of reasons to purchase an iOS device.

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Writing Success Secret #1: Book Promotion Can Be FUN! - WritingSpirit Blog

Writing Success Secret #1: Book Promotion Can Be FUN! - WritingSpirit Blog | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

You're an author, which means that writing and promotion are always in the #1 and #2 positions on your daily “to do” list. They’re as inseparable as the two sides of a hundred dollar bill. So it’s time to let go of any resistance, fear, or judgment you may have about promotion, and make peace with it. Life's too short to be stressed out by something that's so essential to your writing success!

 

Here’s something that can help. I'm going to tell you a little secret, and you're probably not going to believe me, at first. That's okay. I can take it.

 

It certainly was for me the day I made this video. I had a blast!

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Digital Publishers on the Changing Tide of Storytelling

A new generation of storytellers is emerging. Storytellers with a lot of creativity and an entrepreneurial attitude no longer need established publishing empires to bring a product to market; they are moving into the realm of digital publishing. Here, a great idea can turn into a published work that can be marketed and sold to millions by a single individual or a small group with very little cost compared to traditional publishing. Digital publishing provides accessibility, availability, and lower pricing than printed literature, which make it an appealing industry for those passionate about books.

 

Our company, Grids Interactive, is a publisher of interactive storybook apps. Like many of our counterparts, we are a very small company with great ideas and big goals for our future. Digital publishing is growing and evolving and many developers are trying their hand at it. Like all emerging industries, however, the weakest contenders will eventually fall by the wayside, while the best will be left standing.

 

To be successful, digital publishers need to position themselves as content providers and not just suppliers of multiple media on multiple platforms, despite the fact that they may gain customers who are not frequent book buyers but who find the multimedia content appealing. Developers have such a wide array of features to add to their e-book, things like games, videos, and online chat that may increase their intrinsic value. However, they shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of providing good content to readers.

 

We asked some fellow digital publishers and authors to weigh in on the change that has come about in storytelling. Our interview was conducted with the professionals in the digital publishing world named below and the interviews follow in their entirety.

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Testing App-creation software: a Kwik test

Testing App-creation software: a Kwik test | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it
Here is a short video “screen test”  I made to try out DIY software for creating picture book apps. The software is a Photoshop plug-in called Kwik, here is the link to their site.
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A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work.m4v

A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work.m4v | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

Technology codes our minds, changes our OS. Apple products have done this extensively. The video shows how magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives.

 

It shows real life clip of a 1-year old, growing among touch screens and print. And how the latter becomes irrelevant. Medium is message. Humble tribute to Steve Jobs, by the most important person : a baby.

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» Making Sense of Digital Books for Kids – Part 2

» Making Sense of Digital Books for Kids – Part 2 | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

In my last post, Making Sense of Digital Books for Kids – Part 1 I looked at a number of categories to begin to understand how publishers and app developers are exploring the realm of digital books for kids. The response to part 1 has been terrific. Parents, publishers and app developers have all contacted me to discuss issues of quality and language and what we want for our children in terms of reading, literacy and books both traditional and digital. That said, these two articles are only the beginning of a process is by no means definitive and hopefully takes our discussion further than the current “are digital books good or bad?” discussion.

 

It is important as the digital space for children continues to mature that we think about how we define and talk about the design and use of digital environments for children. They can be places where stories are told, places where children undertake simple, repetitive tasks, places that both inspire their imaginations and also limit their perspective on the world. How we design, use and create digital environments for children matters, and so developing language, categories and improving our understanding of what is happening is important. Digital environments and digital books can be both positive and negative learning spaces for children — and the quality varies. We haven’t yet found good ways to agree on what is quality and what is not, but there is an increasing amount of work being done in this area. It will really evolve when the current investments begin to pay off and the emerging industry matures.

 

All that said, the following three categories are focussed on the creation vs. consumption discussion that I and others are having regularly in regards to mobile digital devices and children. Mobile devices are more than consumption tools, they are also tools to help make and create things and the balance of engaging children in consuming and creating activity is one we have to find for each child. Like many, I initially saw the launch of the iPad and similar tablet devices as a consumption tool that would sit on my coffee table where I could read, watch and listen. However, very quickly I began to see apps that allowed me to write, draw, record and share with others. The real power of technology for children is that they are growing up in a world where they can tell stories and share them with the world, our children’s pictures and stories no longer just have to live on the fridge door for families and friends to appreciate – they can be pinned up on the internet and accessible to billions. This also doesn’t mean that reading is not important. Indeed, we learn to tell stories by reading and hearing others. All of this and more is being addressed in the diverse world of digital books for kids. So, let us have a look at my next three categories ...

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» Making Sense of Digital Books for Kids – Part 1

» Making Sense of Digital Books for Kids – Part 1 | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

The world of children’s digital books is quickly becoming as densely populated as the rest of the app world, if not more so. And why shouldn’t it? People who love to tell and publish stories to children will obviously go to where children are consuming their media to tell them stories. Increasingly, one of those places is in digital environments.

 

Digital books on touch screens work because touch screens have been designed to meet the fine motor skill development of a child aged two. The same skills a child development professional will look for in a child’s development around two years of age like the ability to point and touch, the ability to roll a ball (swipe) and the ability to pincher grip are the key fine motor skills required to engage with a touch screen. We should not be amazed at young children engaging with the iPad because the user interface has been designed to meet their level of development. We should expect that they can use it. (We should also expect them to be obsessed with the home button — but that is another article).

 

Digital books don’t come in all shapes and sizes. Mostly they are in one shape and size and it is the same as the screen of your mobile device. But, increasingly there is a growing diversity in what these digital books look like, how they are read and what this might mean for children’s learning. Reading on a digital device is no longer just about language and literacy; some apps are able to teach a range of contemporary literacies that extend to visual literacy (just like picture books) and on to ideas like network literacy (how to find information on the network) and engaging in play-based learning through digital books.

 

So, this article is an attempt to explore some of the possible categories and how these different types of digital books can be used to engage our children in narrative and learning ...

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Are Writers without Business Sense Doomed? | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

Are Writers without Business Sense Doomed? | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author | Publishing Digital Book Apps for Kids | Scoop.it

The comments of my last post led to a great conversation about how not having a business mindset will likely hurt authors. However, I didn’t say writers absolutely, positively must be business-minded. I don’t think writers without an entrepreneurial spirit or business sense are doomed.

 

The truth is that we can’t be good at everything. We all have weaknesses, whether that be craft or business sense or something else. And just as some amount of craft can be passed off to an editor, the business aspects of writing can also be handed over to someone else.

 

Is that risky? Sure. Whenever money is involved, we risk people trying to screw us.

The same risk comes up with anything, however. We risk spending money on inferior editors, cover artists, publicists, etc. The saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself” applies equally well any time we hand over control of an aspect of our work.

No Business Sense? Don’t Give Up

 

As I stated in the comments ...

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