Barnes and Noble has been at the forefront of reaching out to consumers and drawing them into the B&N family, such as through established company protocols that use special offers to entice Nook owners into Barnes and Noble physical locations and by offering a range of e-readers with features that meet different readers’ needs. Now, the print-and-digital world of this large retail bookseller is going after the consumers’ children.
Real Books by Real Kids is a Nook Color-specific ebook creation and publication platform that lets young writers create ebooks to be shared via Nook’s free downloadable app, Tikatok. While the company has been helping children create print versions of their stories for several years via their interactive website, the downloadable app is strictly Nook-worthy and the resulting ebooks only available on Nook (not iPad or Kindle), its Android-powered status may make it compatible with other Android devices.
Youngsters can write a very basic book using the app’s fill-in-blank story prompted template, or more advanced users can get even more creative with pages and illustrations. Once the ebook is created, sorry Mom and Dad, the royalties aren’t going to pad Junior’s college account; the ebooks are free to create and publish, and then become available free to any Nook reader via the Tikatok bookshelves. However, printed and bound editions of the ebooks are available for purchase by the parents, no doubt solving the ever-troubling dilemma of what to get Grandma for Christmas this year.
The educational applications abound, especially since Barnes and Noble—in yet another brilliant move—is offering a discounted rate on the printed books for their classrooms. This will encourage schools with limited technology budgets to pursue Nook Color devices for the e-reader needs, since multiple design projects can be incorporated into the curriculum with the Tikatok app. Note to teachers: by taking advantage of the discounted rate but offering the children’s books to the parents for the regular consumer rate, schools could potentially benefit from the fundraising aspect of a project such as this, and turn that meager profit around into purchased professional ebooks for the classroom Nooks.
By creating a program that no other e-reader or platform is offering, reaching out to parents of creative children and to teachers look for another innovative way to incorporate reading and writing, Barnes and Noble is proving that it is proactive about not fading away with too many other brick-and-mortar book stores.