Big Day in Helsinki

Today, Bjørn Terje Bakken – the project manager for our social reading app with gamification – presented the private beta of Lesemeister (literally “reading master”) to Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, the Finnish President and several ministers.

Bakken in Helsinki
Bjørn Terje Bakken presenting Lesemeister in Helsinki

Reports say that the presentation was received with enthusiasm, including a comment from Her Majesty the Queen herself that this looked very interesting. Below is a screenshot where the Queen seems to have completed a new title…

Her Majesty the Queen on Lesemeister
Her Majesty the Queen, or someone using that account, completing a title on Lesemeister to make it show up in the live feed of a friend – from the demo in Helsinki today

Our goal is that by 2019, over half of Norwegian pupils will train to become better readers using this platform. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? We’ll see. We are also looking for partners wanting to use the concept internationally, so if this sounds like you – please give us a shout.

We do thank Innovation Norway for their invaluable support for the research project leading up to this product, our partner Samlaget for a great collaboration so far as well as Edtech Norway (some activity in their group on Facebook regarding this event) for the opportunity to come and present. We think this will be a royal success.

Awesome Award

Praising yourself is nice, but being praised by a third party is even nicer. This is just what happened to our customer Little Pickle Press of San Francisco, Catching Fireflies interactive book app with journalCalifornia the other day. Just look at what the jury wrote about their recent Catching Fireflies app created with our tool:

“THIS is what eBooks should be, taking advantage of the strength of the format to offer the reader an experience they truly could not get on the printed page.”

The title was given the Benjamin Franklin Digital Award. Congratulations Coleen, Rana and the rest of the team. We are proud to be your partner.

Win and get your title in app stores

TapBookAuthor arriving in Bologna
TapBookAuthor arriving in Bologna

We are visiting the Bologna and London book fairs this week and the next. We thought this was a good occasion to do some good and at the same time get our platform in the hands of even more creative people across the globe.

Our platform is used by children’s book publishers all over the world to create interactive content for learning and entertainment. The company got a first international breakthrough when Samsung decided to use the platform in seven countries in South East Asia. Recently an Indie Edition, aimed at self publishers and small organizations, of the platform was launched and can be tested for free by anyone.

We are now running a competition where we sponsor the winners with free access to the premium edition for a year, free 1-to-1 training as well as App Store fees for the year for Apple and Google’s respective stores. This is a total value of over 2000 USD. As always: You keep all your revenue, publish in your own name and own your work 100%.

To take part in the competition, write an email to and explain why your title will be a success in the app stores. Feel free to include sketches and other materials that will convince us, especially highlight how your title will benefit from digital enrichments. All materials submitted will be treated confidentially.

Cool App, Cool Cause

Little Pickle Press and Cabot Creamery partner to support KaBOOM, to help support their efforts to bring balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

The Cow is clearly in Patrick’s kitchen

The app Farm2Table, made with based on the printed book The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen by Diana Prichard with illustrations by Heather Devlin Knopf, is a cute and fun story about the sources of the food we eat.

So if your answer to the question about where food comes from is “The supermarket”, you’ll learn something here. 🙂

The Farm2Table app is available in the iTunes store, currently for less than three dollars – check it out:

News from home while at BEA

The purpose of this short post is twofold; to tell anyone stopping by that we are at BEA and would be happy to meet and to let you know about starting to sell interactive ebooks for children today!

BEA – Book Expo America – is on in NYC this week and we are listening, discussing and mingling. Shout out if you want to chat! I’ll be here the rest of the week.

And from home, I got news today that launched their updated ecommerce page selling interactive books for children. They have nicknamed the format “ebook plus” and the titles typically contain voice-over, sometimes interactivity and animations and in some cases mini-games and quizzes. Out of the 150 or so titles available at launch, I believe only one single title was not made using our tool!

Work of Art

FrøetFrøet from Gyldendal – was called “the first app that proves that an app can be art” in a review.

This makes us as toolmakers very proud!

The app is different from a few other apps made with our tool in that it is not interactive in the sense that you tap to make things happen, but it is very visual with simple yet effective animations and the sound effects and actor create a very coherent experience.

Well done, Gyldendal – looking forward to the next masterpiece from you and our other great customers and partners! awarded!

I have always envied blog posts talking about their “award winning” products, but now we are able to do it ourselves! 🙂 and its founder got the annual entrepreneurship price from one of the most prestigous law firms in Norway, and thus we can understand why Sondre is smiling below:

Our CEO receives the Wikborg Rein entrepreneurship price for 2013 from partner Torleif P. Dahl

Proud of our customers

Today Dagbladet, the second largest Norwegian tabloid newspaper, wrote about two children apps. They usually write about apps for children about once per month. But what was special for us about the reviews this time? In fact both the apps featured were made with our tool!

Dagbladet September 9th 2013, two apps reviewed

The apps in question are both using the possibility of creating a brand-specific channel to the customer, using in-app-purchasing – a feature in our tool for somewhat more than half a year now. And the consumer gets a title for free, to evaluate before paying a single dime. Classical win-win?

Leseland from Samlaget helps people learn to read, with four different levels of difficulty, and uses the “karaoke mode” to highlight text along with a very slow voice. The entire logic of the menu, selection of different voices and images they did with absolutely no help from us, just using the standard features of the tool. Fun for us to see, even if we also like to help customers that prefer to be less hands-on.

Lesestart from Gyldendal is a similar bookshelf with a broader range of titles and a very polished bookshelf-with-store concept with what I personally think is a super looking design and great user experience.

You can see part of the page from the newspaper here, and a similar article is now also online. The titles are in Norwegian.

Raving review

Dagbladet Nov 11th 2013
Dagbladet Nov 11th 2013

I was made aware of today that in a review from two days ago, in one of Norway’s largest newspapers Dagbladet, Cappelen Damm’s Løveunge (literally “Lion Kid”, its series for early readers) was called “the best reading training app so far”. From the link you can see the online version and the picture is from the printed version. How fun!

Cappelen Damm has been using these features:

  • Layers to activate different sets of sounds
  • Read-along/”karaoke mode”
  • Sound effects with random start and/or delays
  • Custom styled menu
  • In-app-purchase
  • Recording of your own voice (including a new mode for recording all pages in one go)

The app is available both in Google Play and Apple App Store – have a look and enjoy.