Publishers Weekly recently reported the launch of Magic Town, a virtual children's picture book world featuring over 70 stories (with many more to come) from major publishers like Hachette and Simon & Schuster. Developed by tech start-up Mindshapes, Magic Town is also open to submissions from children's book authors and illustrators; keep reading for info. Andrea Meyer (formerly of Nosy Crow) was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:
Could you please tell me about the children's book publishers you're working with?
Magic Town has licensed picture books from 15 top publishers, including Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Penguin. We are adding new publishers all the time (See press release info for more details.). At launch we have 70 books, and add 10 to 15 more each month. In total, we have more than 200 books under license. We take the original art work and text from the book, and then create what we call a "Livebook." Livebooks are lightly animated and interactive. There are four modes for reading a Livebook.
Are you working directly with any authors? If so, how?
We are working directly with some children's authors like Janey Louise Jones, who has created an original series called "Superfairies" for Magic Town, and with Ian Whybrow to create digital first versions of his "Shrinky Kids" books.
Are you open to submissions from children's book writer/illustrators?
Yes, we are always looking for great content. We are thrilled to read manuscripts and review artists' portfolios:
Send one paragraph as well as your website URL to email@example.com.
When is the iPad app coming out? How will it differ from the original version?
The iPad app will be out this summer. The experience for kids will be the same as the website. You meet Izzy and Max when you come to the site and they show you around. You can visit Louis at the big tree to get the story of the day. Or you can click directly on one of the houses to go inside and read a book.
The Magic Town iPad app is free to download. Once you've done that, there are some books that are free. You can also buy books on a one by one basis. Or you can subscribe to get full access to the app.