Apps Based on Children's Books Prove Fertile Marketplace
For Oceanhouse Media (OM), a publisher of apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, licensing relationships with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Hay House Publishers and Chronicle Books have helped it to become a player in the children's book space. With the company's recent announcement that the children's classic “ Green Eggs and Ham” was now available for purchase at the App Store, Oceanhouse Media reached a milestone: 100 apps published. After just one week of release, the “Green Eggs and Ham” e-book app achieved its own milestone—it reached the No. 1 position on the App Store book charts for both the iPad and the iPhone. Not bad for a company that's only been around for a little over a year-and-a-half.
Michel Kripalani, founder and president of Oceanhouse Media, offered his thoughts to Book Business Extra on the opportunities that mobile apps provide book publishers, as well as why children's books will be keeping his company busy.
Book Business Extra: How do the partnerships you've created with publishers work? Do you buy the rights to the books? Do the publishers get a piece of the apps that sell?
Michel Kripalani: All of our deals are revenue-share based. OM licenses the source content, adapts it to iPhone/iPad, publishes [it] and then pays royalties (i.e., license fees). OM absorbs 100 percent of the production costs and is responsible for all aspects of publishing, including PR, marketing, software updates, customer support, etc. Each of our apps will generally receive three to four updates per year. When Apple releases new hardware, the updates can be substantial, such as the recent iPad and iPhone 4 updates.
Extra: What are the capabilities of the apps that Oceanhouse Media creates?
Kripalani: … For each Dr. Seuss e-book, we hire professional actors, record custom narration, compose a new music soundtrack, develop unique sound effects, add interactivity, perform page layout for each device and package the entire app using our proprietary children's book engine. We effectively create a new derivative copyright product. The final result is a unique, interactive software experience that extends well beyond the original book.