Book Apps/Book Apps

From Interactive Book to iBook

Posted by Scott Gregory on

Some time ago, I worked with a very clever author named Karen Robertson. She created this book/game called Treasure Kai And The Lost Gold Of Shark Island and I’m proud to say that I played a small part in its development.

Treasure Kai was an interactive book before interactive required an iTunes account.

Affixed to the book are a number of treasure chests, each containing a different toy. The goal is to find the chest with the gold. Opening the wrong chest sends you on various suspenseful adventures within the book, each ending with yet another chance to uncover the correct chest. Having been published prior to the release of  iPad (hallowed be its name), it was very much the pinnacle of an interactive book. Since the iPad, Karen has recast her vision in app form, turning Treasure Kai into a game app. She quickly fell in love with apps and has been helping other authors develop their own apps. So if you are interested in turning your book into an application, head over to Digital Kids Author .com and seek out the treasure which awaits!

Publishing Biz/eBooks

Ebooks are toppling the empire!

Posted by Scott Gregory on

Everything is new for children’s publishers now. The barriers to electronic books have been finally dismantled in 2010. First, the iPad surged onto the scene and provided us with a color reading device. Despite its high cost, parents showed little reluctance to their kids putting their sticky hands on it. The direct interaction of fingers on screen is exactly what tykes crave. Try showing a two-year old how to double click and you’ll understand. In the first half of the year, children’s books accounted for 81% of all iPad books downloaded.

The combination of ebook and on-demand has put authors in control.

Clearly there was some pent-up demand for a device like this. Barnes and Nobles responded to this apparent market by hurrying out a color Nook. And many other color readers are emerging in quick succession. So that was the first hurdle. The second hurdle was on-demand children’s books. If you wanted to release a book in electronic form, then on-demand makes the most sense for those who still desire a paper version. If you dismiss the printed book altogether, you would miss out too many customers. If you print thousands of books, you’ll risk too much investment. How many printed books can we expect to sell? Hard to say, especially when you factor in buyers who choose ebooks instead. Well good news to us! We can now print hardcover, color children’s books on-demand. Again, a new revelation for 2010.

So, the game has changed but publishers don’t want you to know it. The entire publishing industry is built around the big publishing houses and the big retailers. Ebooks and on-demand books bypass their entire establishment. Small publishers can now release a book in just a few months and get as many sales as the big guys and without the costs. Now, the big guys are also enjoying the higher profits and lower costs of ebooks but they see it only as a bonus to their traditional methods. If you, as a talented author, decided to publish your own book, you easily could now and you will eat away a tiny fraction of their sales. As more and more of us do the same thing, we dismantle the establishment like ants at a picnic.

Don’t think it will last forever though. A new establishment will form, somehow, to protect the market share of the elite. It always happens. Just the natural evolution of the marketplace. So, if you have been waiting for the right time… tick tock.

Publishing Biz

Publishing Toll Booths

Posted by Scott Gregory on

Today I finished the Useful Organizations page of Most of the content is cut and paste, but with a bit of commentary thrown in. In putting this info together in one place, I came to realize that all these organizations charge something. The last on the list is Castlebridge Books, my own publishing house, which isn’t free either. My point is, I guess, that nothing seems to be free in the publishing business anymore. There seem to be many toll booths on the road to sharing your creative labors with the world. Useful Organizations page just added to the Dragonpencil website.

I have written at least 4 children’s stories that I didn’t publish because of the cost (money and timewise). Maybe I’m just not passionate enough about any one of them. And I have seen the passion that my most successful clients have for their books. I’m not sure I’m capable of that. Gone are the days that you can pay someone to be passionate for you. Today an author needs to be in the driver’s seat, not just along for the ride. Even better is a passionate author with a fully supportive spouse. Hmmm…. maybe I do have what it takes.