|Illustration was adapted from Look at My Book: How Kids can Write and Illustrate Terrific Books|
What is a picture book app? A list of the PB apps mentioned:
- Wild about Books by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown (Random House)
- Miss Spider’s Tea Party by David Kirk (Callaway)
- Papa Gatto and Cinderella by Ruth Sanderson (PicPocket Books)
- The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (Moonbot)
- A Present for Milo by Mike Austin (Ruckus)
- Roxie’s A-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure by Roxie Munro (OCG Studios)
- iDinobook: Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs by Alberto Polo Roldan, illustrations by Carlos Leon
- Bunnyfur Imagines by Jenny B Harris is an in-app purchase from within the free Interactive Touch Book app.
Typical app actions include Show and Hide... how they might be used in the context of a story? For example, if the story called for flowers to bloom, the Appear action could be used to make that happen. Other actions include Rotate; Bounce; Assemble; Take apart; and Change Color...to name only a few.
Who and what can be interactive? In addition to characters, the flowers, furniture, rugs, buildings, hills, clouds, and even the words themselves can be part of the action. The above PB apps show a great deal of diversity in the amount and the nature of the interactivity.
Some great reasons to make a PB app are:
- as a companion to a print book (related activities such as games)
- to explore a niche market that traditional publishers aren’t interested in
- to reissue an OP title
- to test an idea for a book or series that may later have a print edition
- to create something that would be impossible in any other form
The process of writing and illustrating a PB app is analogous to writing any picture book. The addition of Reader interactions, animations, audio, and other media add complexity and creative opportunities. The interactivity also needs to be designed. A discussion of the process of writing and illustrating a PB app.
What about the tech? Various partnerships with publishers, agents, and/or developers may be possible or the DIY app-maker can code their own or utilize book app-making tools. The following companies have early versions of non-coding DIY tools available or are in the process of creating them:
- Active Reader by Tall Chair
- Composer by Demibooks
- Interactive Touch Books
- What are the interactive features that can be incorporated into the app (such as Draggable objects the Reader can move; Narration; Animations; and so on)?
- Check out the quality of the resulting app...try out an app made with the system to see how well it operates.
- Hardware and software requirements.
- Workflow- the system may be on your desktop, on your iPad, a plugin to Photoshop, or a web site. How does it require you to put together the images, audio files, animations, interactivity and so on.
- Does it generate an accurate simulation so you can see how your app will operate?
- Ease of use...like most software, there will be a larger or smaller learning curve.
- Look through any documentation (in my experience, not a strong point for most software developers). A given feature may be there, but can you figure out how to implement it?
- How is your app sold... in your own App store account; under the company’s name; via in-app sales; on their web site; etc.
Another interesting type of digital book can be found on web sites such as A Story Before Bed. Adults and/or kids choose a title from the online store and using their own web cam, record themselves reading it. The video plays along with the book; check out the site to see how it works. Click here for an interview with the site’s founder.
E is for Book is a group blog of published children’s book authors writing about their adventures with digital books. There are 70+ articles currently posted, many consisting of first-person accounts of “going digital” with out-of-print as well as original titles.
If you Tweet, there’s a chat about PB apps every Sunday night at 9 PM ET under the tag #storyappchat. The transcript may also be read later in the week on the #storyappchat blog. There often are giveaways of new app titles. My Twitter name is @LoreenLeedy so feel free to send me a tweet.
Digital books offer authors and illustrators amazing new options to explore... I can hardly wait to see how things will evolve.
August 3, 2011
In the list of DIY app tool-makers above, I had originally included Push Pop Press, the developer of Al Gore’s ebook Our Choice. They had announced plans to make their interactive publishing system widely available. As of August 2nd, they have been acquired by Facebook.
August 4, 2011
Added TouchyBooks to DIY list
August 26, 2011
Added uTales to DIY list
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