One Solution to a Challenging Literacy Issue

The challenge: Getting tech-savvy kids interested in reading books.

One solution: Novel Effect

Good stories have always had the ability to captivate—to hold our hearts and imaginations—but today, books often lose out to flashier forms of entertainment. In an effort to make reading engaging for children, Melissa and Matt Hammersley developed the Novel Effect app for IOs, available for download in the Apple Store.

Novel Effect was featured on Shark Tank last fall. The company has won a Webby Award for the Novel Effect app and are now working with the Alexa Accelerator program to develop the growth of this voice-enabled storytelling platform. The Novel Effect app uses voice recognition technology to automatically add music and sounds to the book reading experience.

Novel Effect’s offering is built around children’s books. The company has created sound effects and other audio integrations for dozens of kids’ books, which get triggered when someone reads the books aloud. More than 150 audio “soundscapes” are available for free if a user owns a print book; these soundscapes can also run in the background with ebooks.

You can watch this video to get an idea of how this app works with reading a book:

Not surprisingly, the books that Novel Effect has created “soundscapes” for are all general market books. Hopefully, they will add Christian-themed books soon, or maybe someone else will come up with a similar app for Christian books for kids.

Related Posts:
Authors Profit From Encouraging Children to Read
Six Benefits of Reading
Why Reading the Bible Matters

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Create an App for Your Children’s Book

eBooks, enhanced ebooks, and apps: which should you produce?


For the most part, books geared to adults sell well just in simple ebook format. On the other hand, children’s books don’t appear to sell as well as merely digital book downloads. More and more, children are looking for interaction with their digital books.

Some publishers of children’s books are turning to enhanced ebooks to help engage more children. However, enhanced ebooks only offer slightly more than a regular ebooks. Enhanced ebooks can include narration and video streaming.

More and more publishers are beginning to look at turning their children’s books into apps. An app allows more interactive scenes and diagrams, animation, guided narration, and the ability to record and share your own narration. Historically, apps have been much more expensive to create than regular ebooks or even enhanced ebooks because of the special programming they require.

Independent authors and small publishers now have access to an online service that allows you to create a children’s book app for free. Authorly allows you to use their program to turn your children’s book into an app. The app is then made available for sale on Apple iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Appstore and the Nook App Marketplace.

Those authors who are willing to learn a little and experiment with the Authorly software can create an app for free. Authorly then gives 50% of the revenue from each sale to the author. Those authors who do not want to create their own app, but pay Authorly for this service can spend $20 per page to have Authorly create the app. The author then receives 70% of the revenue from each app sale.

In an increasingly digital era where children expect more than a printed page on their computers, tablets, and phones, creating an app of your children’s picture book may be one way to engage more readers and reap more sales.

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