The nuts and bolts
The mechanics of printed appeal is an entirely other beast within the children's publishing labyrinth. Tactile, visually stimulating books require high-art antics in production departments.
For example, at ipicturebooks.com, personalization is important. According to the company, being able to market e-books to children means appealing to their sense of novelty. Hence, the company produces custom e-books for users, featuring their names—something traditionally printed books cannot.
But for publishers, the services that printers offer can be just as influential as on-demand. For instance, at Book-Mart Press (www.courier.com), the printer not only offers traditional book printing, but also CD-ROM, audio tape and video cassette manufacturing. Even the relationships with printers have become more interactive. In addition to providing a full complement of digital prepress services, including computer-to-plate (CTP) production, Book-mart's Courier works to facilitate the efforts of production teams and composition houses. The printer published Right From the Start, a guide to digital file preparation that also features a companion Web site where customers can access full text, ask questions and download the latest drivers and utilities. In other words, book manufacturers are becoming just as high-tech as the digital generation served.
"But books are never going to be as interactive or as lively as a video game or TV," insists Hawley, which may be what sets a classic fairytale apart from the movie of the week. Knopf agrees, "Some things never change—like a good story."
-Natalie Hope McDonald