Still, many children's publishers, like newcomer Disney, subscribe to the "more is more" philosophy. The movie mogul adopted book publishing to translate its motion pictures into print. Whereas Winnie the Pooh started out as a children's book, other converts from celluloid to print include Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story—both high-tech on screen and in bound format.
Dan Lux, founder of storyXchange (www.storyxchange.com), advises that producing a bestselling book is the surest way to hone a Hollywood deal. "New Internet services are cropping-up at break-neck speeds to help eliminate inefficiencies and bring down the barriers that previously kept buyers and sellers apart," he says.
But the trouble with glamour in this market, says Hawley, is forgetting about the target audience in the first place: children.
"They put so many images on a page that it cheats the child," he explains. "The text wraps around images…and there are so many images per page that a child could get away with not reading a chapter and still figure out what the story is about." As a learning tool, Hawley says enhanced children's books are a bust. But in regards to entertainment value, the debate shifts.
"From a design perspective," he says. "The books are very interesting. At first, the capabilities of the computer far exceeded expertise of users and the designs weren't printable." That issue having been resolved "DK Books," Hawley says, "have wonderful examples."
The publisher, Dorling Kindersly Books (www.dk.com), features both traditional and interactive learning books. For instance, Times Tables is a book featuring puzzles and tests designed to enhance the math learning experience. Whereas My Toolbox is a first word picture book shaped like a movable bag, And though the publisher also develops CD-ROMs, videos and Web pages. Anthony Forbes Watson, CEO of DK and Penguin UK says, "Take any one of DK's flagship books—no publisher has yet bettered it. We've made some painful decisions today to make sense of the business. Looking ahead…We are ready to invest in the talent and ambition to set the standard for a new generation of readers. With the power of Pearson behind us we'll take DK's unique qualities into a digital future." The publisher did, after all, begin by publishing how-to books.