Sam Berman is the founder of Grids Interactive, a kids book app developer. He caught up with eBookNewser to discuss app content, pricing and competition.
EBN: What kind of content makes for a good kids book app?
SB: As a developer, I want to publish a story that encompasses as many aspects to appeal to children as possible, but I would especially aim to please the parents. The parent is likely searching for something educational for their children. For emerging readers, one that focuses on letter sounds or that speaks words as children touch on them is essential. For higher level readers, more emphasis can be placed on highlighting words as the narrator reads. Children want to be entertained. Some like rhyming, others like alliteration. Some are attracted to colorful illustrations or characters that they find interesting. Some like funny stories. Some like stories about animals. The list goes on.
EBN: How do you get your apps noticed when you are competing against brand name book apps from Disney or Dr. Seuss?
SB: We, like many smaller developers are still trying to figure this out. But some things that clearly help overcome that deficit are heavy social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, making sure to have constant feeds of relevant information, strong reviews and traditional media relations such as interviews and write ups on both traditional and on-line outlets. It is also essential to produce a number of quality apps as they help sell each other. If a buyer likes one of your apps they are far more likely to purchase another from you.
EBN: What is the best price for an eBook app?
SB: This really depends on the quality of the book. Book apps with high quality, heavy interactivity and more innovative features should be in the $4.99 -$6.99 range. We have seen an interesting market transformation with the rise of app-based books, where customer expectation for quality and interactivity is high and pricing expectation is very low. Ideas of what constitutes value have shifted dramatically. A traditional children’s picture book could sell for $15.99 in a bookstore, but the expectation as an app is that it should cost around $3.99, despite the fact that it is inclusive of so many additional features and extras. I supposed there is a give and take for access to a worldwide marketplace.
EBN: What new features do you expect books to have in the coming years?
SB: I expect there will be significantly more interactivity, motion effects and 3D animation on the technology side for at least some period of time. I also expect that the storytelling will begin to improve dramatically. We as interactive publishers should not forget that at the end of the day we are at our core storytellers and I think that is what people are going to want.