Once Upon A Time: The Children’s Book App Market (supplement)

Once Upon A Time: The Children’s Book App Market (supplement)

by Julie Brannon


What does it take to be a successful children’s book application developer? What are the trends in the market? How are the best apps discovered? 

App Marketer Julie Brannon asks developers and reviewers these questions and more in our December feature article about the children’s book app market. 

Read below for some unpublished excerpts from our interviews:

The Trends

Developers are desperate. There are a number of them that will go out of business in the next one to five years…In the near future there will be a lot less app developers for kid’s books. There’s not enough room for all of these players. In the process there were a lot of people who heard that apps were this goldmine. You put out an app that looks like you are drinking beer on your iPhone and you make a million dollars. People drank the Kool-Aid on that. They [the developers] get to [requesting reviews from] me sometimes and they can’t believe that they have to market at all, let alone that you could market until you are blue in the face and still only sell a couple of apps a day. It’s very discouraging to small developers who didn’t do a lot of market research before they got involved. 

– Carisa Kluver, Founder and Reviewer, Digital-Storytime.com

The most obvious trend is simply the explosive growth of the market. It’s amazing to think back just two years when there really was no such thing as a children’s book app. In a span of under two years, the industry has gone from virtually nothing to an absolute tidal wave of high-quality apps from a large number of publishers. There are companies like Oceanhouse Media that are taking classic books and adapting them into app form. There are other people doing new apps, based on original material, from scratch. The levels of interactivity and quality vary tremendously from app to app. In some ways it’s almost like the early introduction of Macintosh and graphic design tools when everyone thought they could do graphic design. Fonts, colors and crazy designs were everywhere. Then slowly over time, the people that were really excellent at their craft were able to further refine their skills and get noticed. They survived the storm. Others simply fell away. The market is currently filled with a lot of players who are delivering a varied level of quality. I would expect that over time things are going to whittle down to the publishers and developers that are repeatedly and reliably delivering high-value, high-quality content.

– Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media

I do see that mobile and digital are here to stay AND that reading is here to stay. That means that traditional print publishers need to have a mobile digital presence — mobile is ultimately where people will be turning for content. 

– Lynette Mattke, Founder and CEO, Picpocket Books; Cofounder, Moms With Apps

Follow Julie Brannon on Twitter: @Julia_Brannon

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