stories-alive-logoReading apps for children is an area that many companies have looked into expanding. The difficulty that comes in that arena is two-fold: how to keep kids interested and how to get parents to spend money.

StoriesAlive is a subscription-based reading app that contains multiple children’s stories, and is consistently growing. However, what sets Stories Alive apart is the interactive element of the app that keeps children engaged in ways that every reading experience is different even when checking out the same book again and again.

At BookExpo America this year, I had a chance to sit with Umesh Schukla, CEO of StoriesAlive, who showed me examples of some of the books on crazyhairdayStoriesAlive, including Crazy Hair Day and On the Night You Were Born.

Each book was unique with different types of interactions, but the elements on many of the pages are hidden. It requires the user to explore each page and learn about the different elements they can experience.

“This technology brings pictures books to life,” Schukla said. “The idea is that we can offer them a story experience. It’s not like you have games. They are immersive within the story framework.”

Barry Saltzberg’s Crazy Hair Day was one example I had a chance to check out. Nearly every page has an interactive feature such as styling Stanley’s hair, going through a maze game, popping bubbles and more. Children could even add themselves into the school picture and transform themselves into a hamster just like Stanley. While there are words in the books, there is narration.

Nancy Tillman’s On the Night You Were Born was a different experience entirely. The book can be personalized for a child using their name and picture throughout the story. The child’s name will be written in the stars and animals will call out their name. In addition, the narration can be personalized with the option to record your own message.

The dynamic features of StoriesAlive were riveting, and I can certainly see how a child could be entertained by the different interactive titles. The digital library is focused on children between the ages of 3 to 8 years old. Some of the people that worked with StoriesAlive include Dean Koontz, Don Freeman, and Suse McDonald.

“We have true interactive experiences,” Schukla said.

Schukla and his group take three months to bring one book to the app, including production and storyboard design. The StoriesAlive app is free to download and comes with six free-trial titles. The subscription then costs 99 cents a week for unlimited access to the expanding library.

“We make the authors are involved,” Schukla said. “We let them see the layout and tell them this is what we are doing. They get to see vaguely what it will look like. Usually, they are very, very happy.”

Stories Alive is able to keep analytics on all the books in the digital library, such as number of downloads, percentage of a book read, and how much time was spent on a book. Authors get paid in a revenue sharing model.

There are dozens of books on the app including classics such as Humpty Dumpty, The Three Little Pigs, The Ugly Ducking and Traditional Nursery Rhymes.


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