Just before Christmas, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) quietly released its Nook Kids childrens e-books app for Apple’s iPad. The new app came a little over a month after B&N unveiled its Nook Color e-reader, which appeared to be taking aim at both the iPad and Amazon’s Kindle. Most children’s book publishers have had high hopes for the iPad and tablets in general, since standard text-only e-readers aren’t the place for electronic versions of pop-up books and colorful illustrations.
For the most part, children’s books have mainly been the province of apps. But the price point of most apps tend to be cheaper than e-books, so many publishers have been concerned about the lack of a popular platform to sell their wares. B&N’s Kids’ iPad app launches with 100 new interactive kids’ books including Caps for Sale, Skippyjon Jones and Sheep in a Jeep. In general, B&N offers 230 interactive picture books, many with audio narration on its Nook Color device. There are also 12,000 children’s chapter books available on Nook Color. That will be coming soon to Nook Kids for iPad. Overall, B&N’s Nook line has about two million digital titles.
With the introduction of the Kids app, B&N deepens its strategy of selling e-books via apps and not just to promote its own Nook line of devices or its brick-and-mortar stores. Nook Color system’s apps, interestingly enough, happen to be built on Google’s Android system, which makes this additional iPad app further proof of its ecumenical approach to digital, an area that is becoming increasingly important to the bookseller.