Publishing isn’t dying, it’s just becoming more animated. Los Angeles-based JibJab sees an opportunity to benefit from the emergence of digital children’s books on tablets like the iPad. They recently launched a new product line called JibJab Jr. Books. Powered by their “Starring You” technology, it allows kids to insert themselves into their storybooks. The app is free to download on the iTunes store, and comes with a starter book. Additional titles can be purchased for $7.99 individually or $3.99 as part of a monthly subscription plan.
The JibJab titles don’t offer the hyper-clickable interactivity or audio narration/sound effects of other recent iPad children’s book efforts like Bill Joyce’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, but they have an equally compelling feature in content personalization. Right now, that’s enough to stand out from the pack, although they’ll likely need to add interactivity and sound at some point to stay competitive. Another unique aspect of the books is that JibJab is commissioning a lot of fresh voices, including many from the animation industry, to illustrate their book titles. Among the artists they’ve enlisted so far are Nate Wragg, John Martz, Brigette Barrager and Kai Wu.
(Disclosure: JibJab is a sponsor of Cartoon Brew’s 2011 Student Animation Festival.)