According to The Washington Post, 18 months ago, Lynette Mattke’s husband, Manuel, brought home an iPod Touch. Mattke went looking in the iTunes applications store for audio books. She found very little geared for young kids.
Four months later, she started working on a picture book app for babies, toddlers and grade schoolers called PicPocket Books and soon after co-founded a consortium of independent developers of educational apps called Moms With Apps that acts as an entrepreneurial support group as well as a brand.
Since her goal is to foster a love of reading, Mattke takes pains when adapting books for mobile phones to remain faithful to the original text. She uses largely static images with a few minor enhancements: a narrator, words that light up as they are spoken and a touch of clever animation.
The result is not quite like reading a book, but not quite like watching a video either. Mattke alludes to the hybrid nature of the experience on a promotional video, in which she asks her beta testers Miles and Lila Grovic, “Do you watch or do you read?”
As of November, 60 percent of the 25 top-selling apps were for toddlers, according to an analysis done by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. A PicPocket book costs between 99 cents and $3.99. Apple takes 30 percent off the top. The balance is split among the publishers, voice-over talent, technical folks and Mattke, who said PicPocket is already profitable enough to work as a second income.
Photo by The Washington Post.