As print publications decline in favor of e-books and digital delivery methods, a new market for interactive children’s books has developed. Growing up, I played with Disney storybooks enhanced with sound effect buttons, much like this one:
I loved these books, which prompted me at certain points in the story to press the “seagull sound” button or play a musical excerpt from the movie. It always made me feel like I was part of the story.
Now, publishers are recognizing the advantage of interactivity in a new digital format: popular children’s books are essentially converted into an app format, and enriched with new interactive details. Young readers can make things happen on their tablet screen, bringing the book to life at the touch of a finger. While such reading exercises can in fact help a child’s mental development, parents are sometimes leery of such apps. Sure, it quiets their kid down and grows their skill set at the same time, but these apps can come with a hefty price tag. The article specifically points out “Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr Seuss, which costs $8 in print format and $3.99 as an interactive mobile application.
These apps, while they may seem plentiful, are much less common than traditional print books or e-books. Developers, having seen the low profits generally garnered from an expensive-to-develop book application, aren’t interested in taking a risk. There are a few companies that are willing to give it a shot, thereby giving young readers even more learning options.