Tablets and color e-readers offer a brighter palette for kids’ e-books–and an opportunity for publishers. HarperCollins is the latest to look for revenue from digital picture books. The company is bringing Frog and Toad, The Berenstain Bears, Fancy Nancy and other I Can Read early reading books to the iPad and Nook Color.
Over eighty I Can Read titles are currently available through dedicated iTunes and Nook Kids storefronts, and HarperCollins will increase that number to 100 in coming weeks. The I Can Read e-books include audio read-along features with sound effects synched to the word or page. Each e-book is $4.99 on both iTunes and the Nook Store, and buyers get a free download of an I Can Read title called Dixie.
As tablets increase in popularity, the number of digital picture books available is growing. iTunes now has a separate section for kids’ picture books, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Kids section contains over 475 digital picture books, including “Read and Play” and “Read to Me” books.
Many of these titles, including the I Can Read books, aren’t available on Kindle, which is limited by its black-and-white screen (though the apps support color, and a tablet is rumored for this fall). A HarperCollins spokesperson wouldn’t comment directly on the Kindle but said, “We’re eager to release the books to digital retailers that are able to maintain the layout, design, and fonts of the books as they were created.”