NOOK Kids: Enhanced Ebooks That Kids Will Love
Last week, Digital Book World announced that 25% of Americans have tried reading an ebook. At this point, if you’re not part of that 25%, I’m guessing you’ve at least seen an ebook. In the early days, ebooks strongly resembled the typical paperback novel, complete with a white screen and black e-ink that was virtually indistinguishable from real ink. And this made perfect sense. The reading public was skeptical about this newfangled format and the more an ebook looked like a standard book, the better. But there was one issue with this: it left out beautiful illustrated books.
Beautiful illustrated books are Chronicle’s specialty so obviously it was important to us to find a digital format that made sense for our books. Well, flash forward to 2012 and nearly all major e-reader manufacturers now offer a “color” or tablet-style device. These devices give us the ability to include all the bright illustrations in a kid’s book, all the gorgeous photography in a cookbook, and all the fun illustrations in hilarious books like All My Friends Are Dead. We still publish versions of our books for black-and-white e-readers, but it’s exciting to offer these color versions too.
And in some cases, we’ve actually been able to go beyond what is found in the print book and offer special bonus features and functionality in the ebook version. In the publishing industry, this type of ebook is generally called an “enhanced ebook.” I thought it might be fun to look at two of our most recent NOOK Kids books to illustrate what I mean.
NOOK Kids is a special category of Barnes and Noble’s NOOK ebook publishing program. NOOK Kids has three different levels of ebooks: NOOK Kids, NOOK Kids Read to Me™, and NOOK Kids Read and Play™. NOOK Kids books are generally standard ebooks with no enhancements. NOOK Kids Read to Me are books that have been enhanced with audio. And NOOK Kids Read and Play have been enhanced with both audio and video/animation.
Both of the below examples are available on the NOOK Kids Read to Me platform.
Chloe, Instead by Micah Player tells the story of Molly and her baby sister Chloe. This is an incredibly eye-catching book, thanks to its colorful illustrations, so it was important to us that these illustrations looked just as good in the ebook version. But our digital team wondered if we could push the envelope a little more. They drew up some storyboards and set to work on the enhanced ebook version—and the end result is so much fun.
Like the print book, young readers can enjoy the story of Molly and Chloe in its full glory—but in the NOOK Kids Read to Me version, they’ll also enjoy special hidden interactive features. The tech world calls these hidden features “Easter eggs” because you have to hunt for them.
My favorite Easter egg is hidden near the beginning of the book. On this page, Molly is trying to explain exactly why her baby sister Chloe is so exasperating—Chloe’s always pressing random keys when Molly is trying to play the piano. Inquisitive readers who tap the keyboard like Chloe will be treated to surprise: an audio recording of someone banging on a piano. After you realize that some of the illustrations can be double-tapped to unveil surprises, the book becomes a fun game with little fingers tapping and poking at the screen.
In addition to the Easter eggs, the ebook has three different reading settings, which are standard for the NOOK Kids Read to Me platform: Read by Myself, Read to Me, and Record and Read. Read by Myself is the silent version of the book. If you select Read to Me, you’ll be treated to the full audio version of the book. And the Read and Record function allows users to record themselves reading the book and play it back.
What do you get when you combine a word and a number? A wumber! Best-selling book cre8ors Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have wri10 and illustr8ed this s2pendous book that is 1derful 4 readers in kindergar10 and up.
This is a very playful book and it felt right for the NOOK Kids Read to Me platform. Like Chloe, Instead, the Wumbers ebook includes both Easter eggs and sound. In fact, the Easter eggs in this book are extra special. Each was created from art that didn’t quite make it into the book and contains fun factoids about the author and illustrator. Check out this example of what happens when you double click on the man’s moustache on this page.
The book also includes audio. In addition to recording Tom and Amy for the narrator parts, we asked some Chronicle Books employees to record the smaller speaking roles. The result is a truly interactive read that offers extra content not available in the print book.
Do the kiddos in your life already enjoy ebooks? Or have you stuck to traditional print books when it comes to story time?
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