I’m back from a short but fruitful visit to Bologna, Italy last week for Tools of Change and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Demibooks is ushering in Spring with some new products and features, and we’ve got some updates to share.
The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is a rights-focused event, and we were there to introduce our tablet platform for publishing interactive books to the global publishing audience. That was a lofty goal, especially given the size of the Book Fair! But we managed to squeeze in several productive meetings, meet old friends and make new ones. Randall White of EDC (Demibooks partner, client and early stage investor) and I were amused we have to fly all the way to Italy to have dinner, but that’s how it goes sometimes!
At TOC Bologna I was on a panel with a seriously long title: “Navigating the Digital Landscape: Apps vs eBooks, eReaders vs Tablets, Sales Channels, Pricing and More” moderated by Neil Hoskins of WingedChariot in the UK. There was some heated debate on ebooks vs apps, I had to dodge a few bullets aimed at apps from the ePub standard bearers, but we liked each other enough to go out for dinner later! TOC also rolled out this year’s Ragazzi Digital Award winners, great to see some of the work from winners Touch Press and Dada as well as Mentions for Nosy Crow and Callaway. None of the 11 Composer based apps that were nominated made it to the finalists, but hey there is always next year!
Overall, the energy levels in Bologna were really high, and there was a fair amount of interest in apps and new publishing tools. TOC could benefit from having more sessions involving content creators who are trying new platforms and technologies. It still feels like two different worlds – traditionalists who are hanging on and those who are embracing change more rapidly. As a South American publisher told me, “We want to do this, we must, but we’re scared”. I was impressed with the quality of illustrators, animators and graphics artists in attendance at the Book Fair, it would be incredible if we could work with many more of them! We’ve put a few pictures from Bologna are on our facebook page.
On to new product launches and announcements. Couple of weeks ago Composer Pro went live in the App Store, and we’ve announced plans for our Composer Studio that will be available soon via subscription at demibooks.com. We’re pleased to announce today that our store app Demibooks Storytime will now support online website purchases. Publishers can now provide their customers the same online purchase experience for Storytime apps as they do for print or ebooks. Aggregator commissions are avoided for these direct sales to consumers. For the consumer, book apps purchased on a website can be accessed and read from the iPad via Storytime. It’s another option to find and purchase these richly interactive book apps produced on the Demibooks Composer platform.
Our first implementation is with EDC who now offer their customers access to the Kane Miller book apps on Storytime. Other publishers will be added in the future.