IPG Children's Publisher of the Year

A round-up of responses to Stories Aloud

Posted by Tom on Nov 22, 2012

It’s been less than a week since we announced Stories Aloud, our new digital initiative combining audio readings of our picture books with each paperback edition, and the project has already had its first reviews!

In The Bookseller’s Digital Publishing newsletter, Philip Jones writes:

“One thing publishers can continue to do is innovate, and one thing they could perhaps do better is use what natural advantages they have. Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud is a good example of both of these things (as well a finding a use for QR codes!). The service allows readers of their books the option to use the QR code to stream an audio version of the title. What appeals to me is that this allows me to interact with the content in a useful way digitally without detracting from print, or removing the desire to own a print copy … As Osprey Publishing has done, using the skills of live booksellers to sell print and digital together without one undermining the other, is a neat bundle of joy.”

The Mother Geek blog have reviewed the Stories Aloud-enabled edition of The Princess and the Peas (which will be in stores from January):

“The good thing about the Stories Aloud idea is that children can listen to the stories whenever they like, at no additional cost. You have access to the “audio book” when you’ve only paid for the paper book, so in effect you’re getting, “two for the price of one.” … I highly recommend the book, and I love the idea of Stories Aloud, too. I will still read to my children, as I really enjoy it, but I feel a lot more children will benefit from being read to, thanks to Stories Aloud.”

And here’s a review from the Booka Uhu blog:

“Although the traditionalist and worrier in me squirms at the idea that parents won’t necessarily be enjoying picturebooks with their children if they can rely on apps like this, this IS a pretty cool idea. Children hankering after books don’t have to rely on busy mums and dads being able to drop everything every time and settle down for a story with apps like this, especially when they’re child-friendly too. There’s nothing to stop parents enjoying it with their children too really, helping them to anticipate the ‘ping’ sound or to see how the audio reading and the words slot together.

So yes, hats off to Nosy Crow for a neat new digital idea – keep an eye out for their QR codes the next time you spy the Crow!”

We’ve had too many encouraging messages on Twitter and Facebook to count, but it was particularly welcome to see support from literacy charities including Booktrust, Readathon, and The National Literacy Trust.

Of course, not everyone is in favour of the idea (as, I find, is often the case when the words “digital” and “reading” appear in the same sentence…) – on a previous blogpost, you can read one particular criticism as well as our response.

Thank you to everyone who’s written to us – on this blog, on Twitter and Facebook, over email, and elsewhere. It means an awful lot to read and hear about other people’s enthusiasm for this project – especially when it comes from our readers. So here’s to Stories Aloud, and to innovation everywhere!

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