The iPad Meets the Children's Book
Apps for kids' stories start to proliferate for Apple's newest product
By Karen Springen -- reprinted with permission of Publishers WeeklyOn launch day last Saturday, Apple sold more than 300,000 iPads—and users downloaded more than one million apps and more than 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore. Parents immediately started snapping up picture book apps from Apple's online store. In fact, children's stories held six of the top 10 paid iPad book-app sales spots as of press time. Typical prices for children's book apps range anywhere from $2.99 for The Cat in the Hat to $9.99 for Miss Spider's Tea Party. On iPad launch day, Disney introduced its $8.99 Toy Story 2 app, and within the next eight weeks plans to add The Princess and the Frog, Beauty and the Beast,Winnie-the-Pooh, and, in June, a 3D app for Toy Story 3. Apps will boost print book sales rather than cannibalize them, said Jeanne Mosure, senior v-p and group publisher of Disney Publishing Worldwide. "It just makes children more excited about the prospect of reading more and buying more books." By the end of this year, Disney plans to sell apps for about two dozen of its 600 stories available through its As with the iPhone and iPod Touch, paid iPad apps aren't the only game in town-there's free material for kid-lit lovers, too. The app for the eight-year-old
iStoryTime, and plans to release the 10 more based on the rest of its list by the end of the year. "We have a duty to make sure our books are offered to kids in every format possible," said Françoise Mouly, editorial director for TOON Books and art director for The New Yorker. Last year the now two-year-old company released its books online, so the iPad is a natural next step, she said. She doesn't want to overdo it, though, with too many glitzy options. "There's a slippery slope, where people start having sound effects and animation," she said. "Then it's a passive experience for the child."