Monthly Archives: January 2013

Topic for the 2/3/13 #storyappchat: Finding Community

#storyappchat topic badgeNo, this isn’t about building little (or big) online communities like Moshi Monsters or Facebook. Rather, this is about avoiding isolation. How many hours of each day do most of us sit staring at the computer screen by ourselves, and is that good for our creativity? When working alone IS our day job, there are real risks to becoming more and more cut off from other people (including our intended audience).

Are there ways we can reach out to others and stay connected to humanity (and still get that next app shipped in time for the holidays)? Let’s discuss this during the next #storyappchat hour THIS Sunday, February 3, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just plug the #storyappchat hashtag into your Twitter updates to join us!

Transcript for the 1/27/13 #storyappchat: the iBookstore

Judging by the high-quality chatter we enjoyed last night, many of us see the iBookstore as a viable option for producing interactive books for kids. Be sure to study the transcript above for links and other valuable industry information from @LizCastro, @RonMartinez, @DrawBeard and @TheiPodTeacher. A lot of people who joined us last night had nice things to say about Book Creator, a WYSIWYG (graphically-based) ePub editor which makes it easy to create files for the iBookstore.

Remember, we convene every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific to talk about creating storybook apps and ebooks for kids. Join us next and every week, OK?

Topic for the 1/27/13 #storyappchat: the iBookstore

Apple's iBook AppWhile it’s true we’ve done chats before on the topic of the iBookstore, we thought it made sense to revisit it, given the rise of one-stop DIY tools like Book Creator and excellent technical resources like the tutorials and how-to books from Liz Castro. With a little bit of help and an entrepreneurial spirit, anyone can create robust and very app-like titles for Apple’s iBookstore.

Of course, others are using Apple’s free iBooks Author tool to create content, and that’s pretty exciting too.

So: let’s talk about it this Sunday (January 27) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start using the #storyappchat hashtag on Twitter about that time, and we will look for you then!

Transcript for the 1/20/13 #storyappchat: Pricing

Pricing is certainly a controversial topic, but we were able to keep it cool last night during our #storyappchat discussion. People shared their experiences, asked thoughtful questions and a lot of good information was exchanged.

Get a detailed blow-by-blow in the transcript above, and remember to join us every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific.

Topic for the 1/20/13 #storyappchat: App Pricing

#storyappchat topic badgeWe’ve done a chat on this topic before, but felt as thought it was time to revisit the subject of app pricing. Most book apps are now priced between 99¢ and $4.99, according to Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime (our resident storybook app expert). Are these fair prices for storybook apps? Does it make sense to run special discounts, and if so, when?

And what of the freemium model? Some developers have had success giving away introductory content, then charging for more once the value and high quality has been established in the mind of the user. Is this an approach those of us working on storybook apps should consider?

Let’s explore the world of pricing during this week’s #storyappchat, to be held this Sunday (January 20, 2013) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. We will be looking out for you then, so don’t miss it. Just start using the #storyappchat hashtag on Twitter to join in!

Transcript for the 1/13/13 #storyappchat: Common Core

We enjoyed a lively discussion last night about the Common Core State Standards and their impact on storybook app/ebook development. Here are a few tips that came out of the chat:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the CCSS, and list those standards that your book aligns with, or could help address
  2. Take this list and expand on it: explain exactly how your book could be used to cover the standards
  3. Use this new expanded list in your marketing copy on your website and in your iTunes app descriptions
  4. To really score with teachers, create a few lesson plans featuring your app, and state the standards clearly in the plan
  5. Offer the lesson plans free on your website
  6. Eventually, SEO will help teachers find your site, if you make mention of the CCSS

Miss the chat? These tips and several others are available in the transcript above. Enjoy, and make plans to join us this Sunday, when we’ll chat about app pricing and how it’s changed over the last year. The fun starts at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT on January 20, 2013!

Topic for the 1/13/13 #storyappchat: The Common Core State Standards

Common CoreIf you haven’t yet heard about the Common Core State Standards for education, don’t worry. You will. Forty-five states have already adopted these learning guidelines for English/Language Arts and Mathematics in grades K-12. This means that teachers in most states are or will be aligning their curriculum to these educational standards. While it’s exciting to know that kids all across the country, regardless of geographical location, will be exposed to the same expectations and will be developing the same skills, these new standards present challenges for classrooms and opportunities for those of us who are creating digital content for kids. Some questions to ponder include:

  • How can we create content that aligns with the standards? What if a state I’m in hasn’t yet adopted the standards?
  • How can we reach the decision makers in schools, to let them know we’ve created content that is aligned with the CCSS?
  • There is a heavier emphasis (vs. what we’ve seen in the past at the state level) on exposure to and interpretation of informational text (i.e. nonfiction text designed to explain or teach). What challenges does this present, and what opportunities does it create for creators of book apps/ebooks?
  • What are educational standards, why do we need ’em, and who created ’em? (Visit the CCSS FAQ page to answer these questions)

Let’s discuss the Common Core State Standards and how they impact and affect all of us who are working on book apps and ebooks for kids during the next #storyappchat on January 13, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. We will look for you then. Simply start using the #storyappchat hashtag on Twitter to participate!