Making a Connection With Interactive Children's Books
While the print version of Press Here may be an anti-ebook in the sense that it runs on the child's imagination rather than computer technology, the content and how the child interacts with it lends itself to digital complements to the beloved print book. Since its print release the publication has been rolled out as an ebook for the iPad and mobile app on the iPhone.
The story of Press Here goes to show that while a book's interactive capabilities are unique to a given medium, the end goal of creating an engaging reading experience transcends platforms. By no means has the emergence of interactive ebooks replaced print interactivity; rather the two forms often compliment one another. And no matter what the platform, interactive features should serve the content, not the other way around.
Fun with Learning
Arbordale Publishing, based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is known for smart content. Many of its titles are focused on educational subjects, such as science and math, says Heather Williams, public relations coordinator, and these stories are often complemented by activities, quizzes, and games in the back of the books. Here, some of the content is elevated and challenging, inspiring kids to use the knowledge they learned through the story itself to complete them -- either on their own, or with the teachers and adults in their lives.
At Arbordale, ebooks are developed alongside their print counterparts: Print debuts first, followed by the ebook launch. Mobile apps, which Williams says are a little more complicated and challenging to develop, come later. The publisher has also developed its own ereader, which allow readers to utilize a key interactive feature: Children can switch between English and Spanish languages on the fly.
There is a distinction between the level of "interactivity" between the publisher's ebooks and mobile apps. Ebooks are often used in classroom or educational settings because teachers don't appreciate a lot of distracting features, says Williams. Mobile apps are more often used for recreational and home reading, when children are more apt to "play" with the content. At minimum, Arbordale's ebooks are all bilingual and feature audio; some have been appended with video clips, as well.
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