Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More from Digital Book World

Afternoon session:

A New Kind of Publisher for a New Kind of Product:  Emerging Models for Children’s  Book Publishing

Moderated by Charlie Schroder, Charlie Schroder & Co. LLC,  Marc Jaffee, Cross Platform Publishing Advisors;  Michel Kripalani, Oceanhouse Media;  Rick Richter, Ruckus Media Group;  Nicholas Callaway, Callaway Digital Arts

Nicholas Callaway discussing business model.
Partner with Brands or IP oweners, media company, author, etc;
Also working with authors of the future.  On a partnership model.
Creating a shared and common strategic goal.

Marc Jaffe, speaking on behalf of Trilogy studios, working on a device for reading for kids.  They built studios at EA and Fox.  Know how to take brands and franchises.  Social media capabilities, data tracking with the device.  High profile characters and brands.  Featured and animated films and secondly with print publishers or agents who control the rights for high profile classics.  Revenue sharing, partnerships or royalty based.  Launch in second quarter of 2011 with 12 titles. 

Michele Kripalani
Started as a development house.  Full publishing house.  Licensing content from children’s books or self help books.  End result is a revenue split.  They are responsible for 100% of development and marketing and PR.  Paying quarterly royalties.  35 children’s books last year.  80 to 125 this year, all on a standard platform.

Rick Richter,
All of these companies started in the last two years.  Astounding on many levels.  Goal for Ruckus has been to be disruptive.  To make books that you can play with and games you can read.  (Quoting Eric Carle) 

Charlie, all of these companies have emerged so recently and asking what their goals are.

Fully content and technology company.  (From Nicholas Callaway.  They have a financial and strategic partners.  Every company is expected to share their technology and innovation within the group they are working with.  Currently building a west coast studio along with their east coast studio.  Nothing about content can be divorced from technology and also the ability to look ahead and see what’s coming in the next nine months to a year.  Learning something new every week.  Apps update.  Cookie app with Martha Stewart came out in November.  New Valentine cookie update came out today.

Marc Jaffe,
Children’s book publishing present the biggest challenges.  A lean forward perspective.  Educational and entertainment.  That the underlying character has DNA. 

Michel Kripalani
Team is 6 people.  They hire outsourcing for building their apps.  Started with Dr. Seuss.  Wondering, what would Ted do with an ipad?  What is the core goal.  Trying to teach a child to read.  They aren’t trying to animate right now.  Don’t think they’re going that direction but complimenting Callaway.  Major updates since the apps have come out.  User comments alerted them to make changes.  Kids kept hitting buttons and parents mentioned it.  They updated the software for auto play based on the feedback.

Rick Richter;  the apps have to tell great stories.  They have to be beautiful but they actual have to be substantial from a story telling perspective.  Storyboarding the app so that it makes sense in the context of the story.  Have an app know who the audience is.  More in line with being an app publisher rather than a developer. 

General comments about the app store.

Callaway :  The opportunity in the app world to reach your consumer to know who your consumer is and to continually engage is one of the greatest opportunities this technology provides.  Book publishers do not know their end users like the app world publishers do.  The greatest revolution of all might be after the app is done paying attention to the end user. 

Mark Jaffe;  Creating product which is recognized or not.  First and formost are looking for high profile brands. We love a character which fox has spent 100 million dollars.  Well recognized brands and characters.  (zzzzzzzzzzzz)  Establishing a relationship with the customer.  Able to engage, or reengage the customer to be able to sell them something else.  Core to their activites.

Michel has attacked this market by working with well known markets.

Cross promotion between apps.  Having a rapour with Apple helps.
Building the app gets you half way there.  Marketing is the other half.

350,000 apps in Apple store.  30,000 kids apps.  27,000 horrible kids apps.  (Excluding present company)  (Rick Richter) 
We need a curator as an advocate for kids.  The tablet business is expected to grow by 8 times in the next year.  Ruckus would like to be that curator.  Lets talk about what makes a great app.  What constitutes a great experience from the apps?  A curator that respects kids. 

Michel says whoever builds this site will make a lot of money. Real opportunity to get critical mass as the curator of children’s books.  Applicious is attempting to do it.  Lacking he authority to be the kids authority.  Mommy blogger is a great tool for this.  One needs the aligned eyeballs to make this work.  (Scholastic) 

Having the ability to track the user through the app.  Going back to them, they have to be careful and can end up damaging the relationship.  Has to be a soft sell.

I asked what authors and illustrators who are not household names can do in this new climate?  Rick Richter said to look at what’s not being done out there.  Think high concept.  Seasonal.  He said,  “It’s a lonely market of an ‘only’  app. 

I’m thinking, the reality is, there’s a gazillion of us who have back lists where we own the rights.  There needs to be a way to put our work out there.  Maybe it’s creating a collective of established authors who can create clout as a community.


  1. Fantastic Info- What is the revenue split OceanHouse was referring to-?Michele: "Licensing content from children’s books or self help books. End result is a revenue split. "
    Your last lines are key:
    "Maybe it’s creating a collective of established authors who can create clout as a community." That is exactly what we need to do and eisforbooks is a great start. Seems like there's lots of mention of HOT characters. Again the license Characters will make the biggest sales...BooHoo.

  2. Maryann - Perhaps if Oceanhouse is using established books (brands) that are "properties" of publishing houses, she is talking about the revenue split with the original print publisher.... licensing agreements rather than royalty agreements. Just a guess.

  3. Michele (A man), according to my agent, pays the author poorly. And, he has set up a very low price point so there is no wiggle room to negotiate with him. I was told that because he's looking at some of my agent's 'high profile' best selling clients.

    I think the way to break in to this, for existing picture book authors, is to take a book of yours that is out of print, and where the rights have reverted back to you and figure out a marketing plan before you either put it out yourself directly to Apple, etc; or find a small company who will help get it out there.