Children's ebooks and apps are big business on the iPad

WingedChariot's Neal Hoskins on the state of the children's digital book market.

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.

If you look at the top paid products in the “Books” category of the iTunes App store, you’ll typically see that children’s products dominate the list. Children’s books and apps are big business on the iPad. This will, of course, be a core focus of next month’s TOC Bologna. I thought it would be nice to preview that event by talking about the state of the market in this podcast interview with Neal Hoskins (@utzy), founder of WingedChariot.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Formats and size are a challenge for this content — Even though mobile devices are getting smaller, the current iPad screen size is smaller than the print edition of many children’s books, leaving the print version as a more inviting option. [Discussed at the 1:52 mark.]
  • EPUB vs. App? — Publishers face the same dilemma here as they do in other genres. Am I better off simply porting content from print to an EPUB edition, or should I invest in custom app development, native to a particular platform? [Discussed at 6:02.]
  • Languages and multi-lingual layers — Digital platforms represent an enormous opportunity for WingedChariot to extend the multi-lingual reach of their products. One of their recent apps, My House, is a great example of how the user can easily switch between French and English through the touch of a button. [Discussed at 12:50.]
  • Nothing beats hands-on research — WingedChariot has done extensive research with children on what they like about devices, apps, etc. They’ve also published much of this research. Sample videos are here and here. [Discussed at 14:50.]
  • Three platforms for the mid-term future — Neal sees three companies/platforms vying for the future of this market: Google, Apple and … Microsoft. It’s interesting that he doesn’t include Amazon in this list although Google is, of course, the platform behind the Amazon Kindle Fire. [Discussed at 17:50.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

Want to hear more about the children’s book marketplace? Be sure to register now for TOC Bologna, which takes place on March 18th.

TOC NY 2012 — O’Reilly’s TOC Conference, being held Feb. 13-15, 2012, in New York City, is where the publishing and tech industries converge. Practitioners and executives from both camps will share what they’ve learned and join together to navigate publishing’s ongoing transformation.

Register to attend TOC 2012


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