New Scholastic app won't hurt Jefferson City operations

By the News Tribune

Scholastic Inc. recently announced its latest move into the electronic market, which the company says will have no effect on local operations.

Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good said the market for children’s e-books is still relatively new and she doesn’t see the new development having any effect on the amount of physical books shipped out from the local plant.

“We just think it’s another way to get more books in more kids hands,” Good said. “We’re still going to be shipping millions and millions of books out of Jefferson City for a very long time.”

Good said the company sees the app as a complement to traditional books and some families may purchase both an electronic and print copy of the same book.

“Ideally, this means more books in the hands of more kids, that’s our goal,” Good said.

The app is still in its beta phase, with the official launch scheduled to coincide with the back-to-school season, Good said.

Company develops app for e-reading

By The Associated Press

A leading publisher of children’s books is taking a big step into the electronic market.

Scholastic Inc. is developing an app called Storia, which includes around 1,300 e-books and multimedia e-books that can be bought directly from the publisher or from retailers. Such favorite picture series as “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Ready, Freddy!” will be in digital format for the first time. The app also will feature games, quizzes, interactive stories, an e-dictionary and a virtual book shelf that kids can organize.

Scholastic Media president Deborah Forte says the idea is to make e-books “more accessible and more relevant.”

A beta version will become available Tuesday for teachers and families who buy through the Scholastic Book Clubs and other Scholastic sales channels. Storia is expected to launch for the general public in the fall, when it should have more than 2,000 books.

Forte said Scholastic sees the app “as a way to support reading and something that’s just plain fun.”

The app is free and will be available first at scholastic.com/storia, then on iTunes later this month. Those who download the app will get five free books, including two multimedia selections. Forte says the e-books should range in price from $1.95 to $20.

Kids are still well behind in the e-book race, and before this week Scholastic had apps for only a handful of books. Vice president for business development Jeff Mathews says that e-books are around 5 percent of sales for Scholastic children’s books, a fraction of the percentage many publishers report for adult books. Mathews and Forte cite the relative expense of a Kindle or Nook e-book reading device, even as they drop under $100, as a reason few kids have them. They also say the typical e-book device is not designed for young people.

“The devices, the reading experience and the ecosystems are showcasing all manners of books, magazines and videos,” Forte says. “We are dedicated to kids and reading.”

Storia is intended for children ages 3-14, and Forte says the app is carefully tailored for each age, whether the books themselves or the difficulty of the quizzes. Parents can track which books their kids are reading, how long they read them and which new words they learned.

“We see Storia as following three basic principles,” Forte says. “One size does not fit all. Parental involvement. And the activities and functions allow for interactive engagement.”

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