Thursday, February 10, 2011

DIgital Books to Chew On (Also on BarneySaltzberg Noodlings Blog)

Digital Books to Chew On

Cramming a book in to an iPad. That's how my new friend, Ian Chia in Melbourne described the craze that's happening. There are so many of us who write and illustrate picture books and are witnessing the digital revolution. Those of us old enough to have gone through the CD rom wave, see similarities, but it is pretty clear that eBooks and enhanced eBooks are just taking off. I will be very surprised if this doesn't continue to grow and thrive. Nobody wants to be left behind.

For new titles or our out of print titles the question becomes, do we become propeller head geeks and learn to program? (No offense for those of you who already know how to do that) Do we ask the kid next door who's always been good with programming? Do we look for ebook publishers? The idea of being in 'control' of what we create is completely understandable. Everybody is looking for creative license and a bigger piece of the pie.

Assuming we create a book app and get it onto iTunes, the question becomes, who will even know it's there? There are only so many Dr. Seuss's, Silversteins, or Sendaks. (Apparently having a last name which begins with an S is helpful!) Those guys are fairly easy to market.

Putting the app on itunes, to promote it, you can blog, you can tweet, you can hoochie coochie coo, but to earn back your investment and then actually earn revenue, now that's the trick!

Then, there is the conversation about content. What can we do, what 'should' we do to serve our stories? Having a reader click on a character and have it squeak, or moo or woof, is fun, but does it have any appeal beyond the initial wow factor? Do we create simple eBooks which just allow the reader to turn pages and have the option for narration? Or, is there something above and beyond where we are all working? Thinking about how we can take advantage of the new platform to truly deliver a different experience.

Just something to chew on. Would love feedback.


1 comment:

  1. Barney,
    These are the questions we're all chewing on! To me it's all a bit overwhelming. Not safe territory. Maybe that's why I lean to the simple book-like experience for the youngest--parent reading to child in his/her voice, preferably cuddled together (they're called lap books and bedtime stories for a reason). Maybe stopping to answer questions or ask one. I think the "read it again" demand is not just proof of a good story, but that a parent's voice, attention, closeness are also what's important.