February 27th, 2014
A recent exploratory study found that 40% of primary schools and 18% of pre-schools are using or trialling iPads, which makes me wonder, as I have many times before, why more children’s publishers aren’t taking tablets seriously. Not just educational content (academic publishers are actually doing a bit better here, I find) but any kind of reading material at all. Although at Nosy Crow we don’t create apps with a particular educational focus, we are interested in reading for pleasure, and just as every Nosy Crow print title has a child reader in mind, every app is made with the ambition of getting children excited about reading in new and exciting ways.
Every now and then – usually in the comments section underneath pieces that mention our apps in The Guardian – I am told that our apps are bad, that they don’t “count” as reading, and that they are depriving children of valuable time which could be spent with real, print books. This strikes me as an entirely false dichotomy. I don’t believe that our apps are competing with print books for a child’s attention – I think, actually, that they are competing with all of the other forms of media available on an iPad: watching movies, surfing the internet, playing Angry Birds, and so on. We are pragmatists: we know that children are spending an increasing amount of time in front of screens, and we want reading to be one of the things that they can “do” on a tablet.
February 25th, 2014
The idea for The Book of Everyone took shape a few years ago when I became a father for the first time. Steve Hanson – one of the co-founders of The Book of Everyone – told the story of how he had gone out and bought all the newspapers on the day that his son Saul was born as a memento for him to enjoy when he was older. This sparked the idea of creating a technology platform that could produce a beautiful journey through the world you were born into. We were very much aware of the digital beast that was rendering the physical world obsolete, devouring its way through CDs, books and movies. It was important to us that the technology we developed created something that could be held with both hands. The Book of Everyone grew from a love of printed media. There’s something about the visceral act of turning a page that can’t be matched by scrolling through pixels. A book has the hit on the senses that imparts a connection with the reader that no Kindle, however practical, can match.