Purvi Shah, mother of two, was not comfortable with technology and e-books. She preferred reading out stories from books to her children. When an iPad arrived at the Shah household, Purvi’s husband downloaded the ‘Annual Haircut Day app’ for their three-year-old son. “Annual Haircut Day is one of my son’s all-time favourite books. Although I was anti-gadgets, I showed the book to him on the iPad. That was his first brush with gadgets.” Purvi was taken aback at how comfortable her son was with the iPad. “He started flipping the pages and navigating the screen. He figured it all out on his own. Since it was an audio book app, he didn’t need me to read out stories to him anymore.” This app, created by Fliplog, is just one among the many storybook apps created for smartphones and tablet computers based on Indian content.
Gautam John, projects manager at Pratham Books, says their content can be copied, distributed and built upon by anyone. That’s how a number of their titles have been used to create apps across multiple platforms, by companies such as NineApp, MeMe Tales and Fliplog. Tulika Publishers were one of the first publishing houses to work with content developers to produce digital books and apps across digital storytelling devices and portals. Niveditha Subramaniam, assistant editor, Tulika Publishers, points out that the content for these apps have to be tailored differently. “Content is key whether in the printed or e-versions of a book. The stronger and more imaginative the content, the more nourishing it is for the child. And that is the challenge for publishers like us.”