Rounds: Franklin Frog, the first app in our innovative life science Rounds series, has received a special mention in the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award. The award, which is associated with the Bologna Book Fair, is in its second year (last year, Bizzy Bear on the Farm was shortlisted), and this year there were over 240 entries, so we’re absolutely thrilled that Franklin Frog has received this acknowledgment. The video above is of the judging panel, chaired by Warren Buckleitner of Children’s Technology Review, discussing the award and its entrants.
In Rounds: Franklin Frog, you can participate in every stage of Franklin’s life, from birth to parenthood, and take part in all of the things that frogs do best, including hopping, swimming, eating, laying frogspawn, changing from a tadpole into a frog – and then they start all over again with Franklin’s son. The app is filled with fun facts about frogs and is illustrated in a bold, graphic style, with original music, animation and child narration.
The app has also been shortlisted for a FutureBook Award, Cybils Award, and Publishing Innovation Award; received a Kirkus Star and an Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review; was an Editor’s Choice App on the App Store; and was recently named by The Sunday Times as one of the 500 Best Apps in the World.
We were thrilled to learn last night that Rounds: Franklin Frog, our first non-fiction app which teaches young children about the life-cycle of frogs with an engaging, looping narrative and lots of interactivity, has been shortlisted for a FutureBook Innovation Award in the Best Children’s App category!
It’s a tough category with a lot of strong competition this year, and we couldn’t be happier that Rounds has made the shortlist. It’s in excellent company: last year’s winner in the same category was Cinderella, and at the very first FutureBook Innovation Awards, The Three Little Pigs received a special commendation in the Best App category. Rounds: Franklin Frog has already been awarded a Kirkus Star, an Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review, and was an Editor’s Choice app in the Education Category of the App Store (where it has an average 5* rating). USA Today wrote that, “It is fabulous. We can’t wait for the next one.”
The full shortlist in the Best Children’s App category is:
★ Mindshapes – Magic Town
★ Khoya – Khoya
★ Barefoot Books / Touch Press – Barefoot World Atlas
★ Penguin – Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics
★ Nosy Crow – Rounds: Franklin Frog
★ StoryToys – Farm123
★ DK/Cogapp – Dr Frankenstein’s Body Lab
And you can read the full list of nominees across every category (whittled down from 221 entries across 19 different countries!) here. The awards will be announced at the FutureBook conference on December 3 – wish us luck!
The Parents’ Choice Awards are the oldest nonprofit program created to recognise quality children’s media in the USA. There are several tiered award levels, and the criteria for the silver award are “excellent products that, like the Gold Award winners, are designed to entertain and help children develop universally ethical attitudes, and rigorous standards and skills … Silver Honors are highly prized – like the Gold Awards – for production and human values.”
In their citation for Bizzy Bear Builds a House, Parents’ Choice wrote:
“With pleasant voice acting, realistic sound effects, lively illustrations, word-tracking, and polite characters, it offers an excellent introduction to construction play, reading, and manners … Well-produced and charming, Bizzy Bear Builds a House will surely become a favorite amongst families with toddlers and preschoolers.”
If you’ve not yet explored the world of Bizzy Bear, you can find the app on iTunes here, and see our trailer below.
The awards are run by parenting magazine Junior and celebrate “the very best and most beautiful products on the planet” – so we’re thrilled Cinderella is one of the winners!
The judges said:
“The highly interactive nature of this sweet retelling of the classic tale, from Nosy Crow, makes it a winner. Telling the well-loved classic tale of the rags-to-riches romance of a young girl, Cinderella, who is forced into a life of drudgery by her wicked stepmother and two ugly step sisters, there is of course the ultimate fairy tale happy ending! There’s plenty for your child to explore on every page, with lots of interactive fun as your child helps Cinders tidy up, and transforming her into a princess fit for a ball. Your child even gets a starring role appearing in the mirror – and spot a cute bird in each scene.”
Two apps were Highly Commended in the same category: If Poems and Dear Zoo – and you can read more about all of the awards here.
At the end of our first year of publishing and second of existence, we’ve won in not one, not two, but three categories of the Independent Publishing Awards.
We won the IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year, the IPG Newcomer Award, and The Nielsen Innovation of the Year Award.
Me with Nosy Crow’s three awards
We were also shortlisted in an additional three categories (IPG Independent Publisher of the Year, Frankfurt Book Fair International Achievement Award and The London Book Fair International Achievement Award).
The awards are run by the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG), in association with The Bookseller and The London Book Fair, and the winners were announced at the Annual Conference of the IPG.
The sixth annual IPG awards featured 21 companies and four individuals, shortlisted across 14 categories.
Nosy Crow was recognized as IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year for its books and apps that “bring reading alive for children and parents”. The judges said that, “What Nosy Crow has achieved in just two years is phenomenal. Its marketing has been faultless and its publishing is full of energy.” The judges especially liked the high production values of our books and apps and our use of web and social media to build and maintain close relationships with customers and suppliers.
In the category of IPG Newcomer, Nosy Crow was celebrated for its impressive commercial success after just two years in existence. The judges admired the twin focus on books and apps, and our “sense of ambition”. They said, “Nosy Crow has produced a string of beautiful books and apps in a very short space of time. It has picked up impressive sales from a standing start.”
Nosy Crow was awarded the Nielsen Innovation of the Year Award (for which no shortlist was announced) for its creative and interactive apps including ‘The Three Little Pigs’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Bizzy Bear on the Farm’. The judges were impressed by its adoption of digital technology right from its launch, by its in-house development of apps, and by strong marketing, PR and sales. “Nosy Crow has adapted to change and embraced it with some terrific work. It is easy to produce apps for the sake of it, but Nosy Crow has done something very innovative and special.”
It’s just amazing to see Nosy Crow honoured in three categories at the end of its first year of publishing. It’s such a tribute to the whole Nosy Crow team who have worked so hard and with such commitment to build a list from scratch, and it’s a particular honour for our completely brilliant in-house app team. It’s also a great tribute to the authors, illustrators and other creative talents who entrusted us with their work from the beginning of our journey. We’re grateful to the shops, librarians, reviewers, international publishing partners, and, above all, mums, dads and other grown-ups who bought and appreciated our books and apps over the course of the last year. Being recognized in this way by the IPG, a community of publishers who exhibit such professionalism, focus and sense of their readers, is particularly inspiring for us. To paraphrase Adele at the Grammys, ‘the Crows done good’.
Because it’s not, you know, cheap to go to conferences like this and Nosy Crow is careful with its cash, and, more importantly, because we’ve only got a few days to go until the Bologna Book Fair, I was the only Crow at the awards ceremony, though I feel rather sad that more of us weren’t there to celebrate.
Still, there’ll be cake later today, you mark my words.
Of course, it wasn’t all about Nosy Crow. Here’s the full list of Independent Publishing Awards winners:
The Bookseller Trade Publisher of the Year: Constable and Robinson IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year: Nosy Crow IPG Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year: SAGE IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year: Nosy Crow IPG Education Publisher of the Year: Jolly Phonics IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year: Osprey IPG Newcomer Award: Nosy Crow
Neilsen Innovation of the Year Award: Nosy Crow
The London Book Fair International Achievement Award: Woodhead Publishing
Ingram Digital Publishing Award: Constable and Robinson
The Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Marketing Award: TopThat! IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year: Andrew Furlow, Icon Books GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award: Adrian Driscoll IPG Diversity Award: Barefoot Books IPG Independent Publisher of the Year Award: Constable and Robinson
It’s particularly gratifying as last year, both Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs were recipients of the award, which is given in recognition of outstanding quality and value in children’s media products.
In their review, by The New York Times’ Gadgetwise blogger Warren Buckleitner, the Review write that Bizzy Bear is “another excellent Nosy Crow app … the narration by children is professionally done, and the activities work well to support the story.”
If you haven’t tried out Bizzy Bear on the Farm yet, you can buy it here – and if you have, we’d love to know what you think, so please send us your reviews on iTunes, Facebook, or Twitter.
2011 was Nosy Crow’s first year of publishing. We published our first book in January.
It’s been an incredibly busy and full year, and I find it hard to sort through the events and impressions of the past twelve months to write anything coherent.
But here goes…
The books and apps we published… and signed up
In 2011, we published 23 books for children aged 0 to 14. 8 were board books. 7 were picture books. 8 were fiction titles for children aged 6 to 14. Here they are in reverse publication order finishing, at the time of writing but this will update as publication dates pass, in December 2011.
We signed up a further 38 books and 8 apps for 2012, and already have projects scheduled for publication in 2013 and beyond. You can already find out about some of the forthcoming books (in publication order starting, at the time of writing but this will update as publication dates pass, in January 2012) and about some of the apps.
Selling at home and abroad
Working with Bounce, we had books sold and promoted in a huge range of UK sales outlets from independent booksellers through bookshop chains and online book retailers to supermarkets and toy shops.
We sold rights to books in the following languages: French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Hebrew, Chinese, Norwegian, Greek and Korean.
Nosy Crow authors on the road
Nosy Crow authors were at numerous literary festivals, including Hay, Edinburgh, Bath and Cheltenham, and staged countless events in schools, libraries and bookshops.
Nosy Crow on the move
We moved offices from our second office in Lambeth to our third office in Southwark (it’s always cheaper south of the river) as our staff grew from 8 to January 2012’s 19, including part-time people and “attached freelancers”. We’ve lost members of staff too (which is a real rite of passage). Two were only with us on a temporary basis and went on to roles that they had planned before they joined us, but Deb Gaffin has just left us to take on a marketing and partnership strategy role at Mindshapes. We are very grateful to her for helping us shape our first apps and the thinking behind them. Andi Silverman Meyer who has known Deb since they were at school together, and who has been fantastic at getting us US coverage for our apps, is joining Mindshapes too.
Spreading the word
We have reached a lot of people with Nosy Crow news of various kinds.
Nosy Crow as a company or Nosy Crow books or apps have been in the Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Gadgetwise Blog of The New York Times, Wired Magazine, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, The Scotsman, Prima, Junior, Good Housekeeping, Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Melbourne Age, The Australian, The Huffington Post and many great children’s book, parenting, technology and app blogs. We’ve had terrific coverage in trade press and websites including Publisher’s Weekly, The Bookseller, FutureBook, BookBrunch and The Literary Platform. The quickest look at the first few pages of a Google search result for Nosy Crow gives a sense of the range of coverage – and, where it’s third-party coverage, how positive it’s been. We’ve had more than our fair share of TV and radio coverage too, and coverage, through our Gallimard and Carlsen links in Figaro, Marie Claire and Buchreport.
It would be ridiculous to pretend it was a year without disappointments or irritations. The much-investigated drainy smell in the bathrooms at 10a Lant Street continues to baffle. The many cakes we make and eat continue to contain a lot of calories. Camilla had her bag stolen and we had to have all the office locks changed. There are one or two important UK retailers who still haven’t stocked our books. There are several countries to which we’d hoped to sell rights but haven’t yet managed to do so – Japan for example, but there are good reasons for that. We didn’t always (though we did generally) agree what books we wanted to publish and how much we wanted to publish them. We offered for some books that we didn’t manage to buy, a couple of which I still feel sad about. One or two books (and I mean “one or two”: our strike rate has been good) didn’t sell quite as well as we thought they would. We had to cancel a couple of projects because they just weren’t working out the way that we’d planned.
But it’s been a very good year.
Whatever we achieved in this first year, we did it in partnership with our many authors and illustrators, new and established, and with other artistic collaborators, such as composers, audio experts and paper engineers. Without them, we have nothing to publish. We threw a party to say thank you. You can see the pictures at the top of our Facebook page.
Our author party in The Crow’s Nest in Lant Street a few weeks ago
And whatever we’ve achieved in this first year, we did it thanks to the support of publishers abroad; booksellers of many kinds; librarians; reviewers; bloggers; literacy organisations; literary and illustrators agents; printers and print managers; talented freelancers; and, of course, the parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends, teachers and librarians who have bought and read our books and apps to, with and for children.
We’ve decided to lower the price of our first app, The Three Little Pigs, over the holiday period, as a way of introducing people to our work. We’re taking the price down to $1.99 US/£1.49 GBP/1.59 Euros from now until the end of the day on 2 January 2012.
We think that many people will get iPads and iPhones and iPod touch devices this Christmas (and we know from multiple reported surveys that many people want one). We also know from what we’ve seen of sales of eBooks post-Christmas that many people who get a new device at Christmas seem to spend the days immediately afterwards loading it up with content.
One of the challenges of making apps is getting people to find your app, and, once they’ve found it found it, getting people to buy something that (lite versions notwithstanding) they can’t try before they buy. We think that new iPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners may be particularly cautious about buying apps if they haven’t bought them before. We hope that, by lowering the price of our first app, people will be encouraged to find out about Nosy Crow and maybe even try out the other two apps we’ve published this year.
We’ve just released Bizzy Bear On The Farm. FutureBook described it as “unmistakeably Nosy Crow in design and quality … The app will further Nosy Crow’s reputation in this field, which can only bring relief to ‘bizzy’ parents looking for quality and safe content for their children.”
And, by the way, The Three Little Pigs was no slouch on the awards and critical acclaim front, and is – because it’s been on the market longest – our bestselling app.
We’re confident – based on the five star reviews that we’ve received from people on the app store apart from anything else – that once you’ve shelled out for a Nosy Crow app, you won’t be disappointed. Lowering the price of The Three Little Pigs for a limited time is a bit of an experiment. The app market is still in its infancy, and developers like us are still working out what the best way of selling our products might be.
So wish us luck!
If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and have managed to withstand the temptation to buy a Nosy Crow app, we hope that this offer will just nudge you over the edge.
The KAPi awards – created by Children’s Technology Review and Living in Digital Times – recognize the most innovative games, software, devices and apps for educating, entertaining and communicating with today’s connected children. The 13 judges for this year’s KAPi Awards are respected journalists and children’s interactive media publishers who reviewed 635 children’s technology products released in the past 12 months.
“This year’s jurors had a big job as they sorted through some impressive products,” said Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review. “The winners accurately reflect the maturation of movement and touch-based platforms.”
“We are raising a generation of always-on digital kids. From e-books to Facebook, the KAPi Awards recognize the best products for a new generation,” said Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times.
Kate said: “Children and parents have told us how much they love our Cinderella children’s story book app, and it’s immensely gratifying that such a distinguished, knowledgeable and child-focused panel of judges has recognized Cinderella as well.”
I know it’s a bit late (for reasons too complicated/embarrassing to go into) to be posting this now, but, just for those of you who missed it, I went, on Monday, to the second FutureBook Conference in London, run by the FutureBook team at The Bookseller. Well-organised and informative, with (for me) stand-out speeches from Stephen Page of Faber and Jon Ingold of Inkle, I, and many others, live-tweeted throughout, and you can find our tweets (for now, at least) here, several of which have links to stats and blog posts.
I will have a shot at posting a blog posting my impressions of the day if I have time over the weekend.
Immediately after the conference, the FutureBook Innovation Awards were presented. I was on the jury, but, because Nosy Crow’s Cinderella was on the shortlist for best children’s app, this year, I had to recuse myself from that part of the judging, disappearing to another room and biting my nails… and we won our category!
Above you can see our very smart and glassy award.
Most Inspiring Digital Person: Rebecca Smart of whom the judges said, “Under Rebecca Smart’s leadership, the Osprey Group’s businesses have demonstrated success across the range of digital publishing – including apps, online services and ebooks – that many larger houses would envy. In giving this award to Rebecca, the judging panel also took into account her generosity in sharing her knowledge through conferences and industry events, and her open and informative use of social media. This willingness to inform and inspire others makes her a deserved winner.”
(Just as a very silly aside, Philip Ardagh was so intrigued by the FutureBook conference and the tweets emanating from it that he “ran” and tweeted (aided and abetted by others who should really have been working), his own non-existent publishing conference, Non-Conference, the following day. You can find the tweets (again, for now, at least) here.)
iLounge, the online magazine for mobile Apple devices, has declared Cinderella its iPad Kids App of the Year as part of its 2012 Buyers’ Guide, beating off stiff competition from runners-up including Dano Pirate HD from Bambino Avenue and ABC Food from Peapod Labs.
Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief, said that, “Of all the kids’ applications we’ve tested over the past year for iPads, Nosy Crow’s Cinderella was most certainly the best. The story dates back centuries, but Nosy Crow’s version feels like something entirely new, bringing the classic characters to life inside funny, surprisingly interactive 3-D environments. The charming voice work alone is good enough to justify the purchase, and as you listen, you’ll discover a dozen little details that all work together to make Cinderella memorably excellent.”
You can download our press release here or view it here.
This is an amazing honour for us. Every year iLounge, one of the top app review sites, runs a “Reader’s Choice awards” and the winners are published in their Nov 1 iPhone + iPod Buyer’s Guide.
Yesterday we received an email from the editor at iLounge saying that Nosy Crow has been nominated for their “2011 Developer of the Year Award.” The competition is steep and we would love your vote! You can vote here.
When you click to vote in the Top Developer category you will also need to vote for nominees in the other three categories (best Apple product, accessory developer, and game developer). You’re sure to see several familiar names.
The English language version of our first app made it to the homepage of the UK App Store. And, to top it off, our German language co-edition partner Carlsen emailed us to say that 3 Sweinchen iPad (the German version of the app) was selected as “App of the Week” in the App Stores in Germany and Austria.
We’re really pleased to be featured in the New and Noteworthy category in 12 Continental European iPad App Stores at the moment. That, and the great review coverage we’ve had, has made us feel all spring-like and expansive, so we’ve decided to price-promote our Three Little Pigs app in app stores throughout the world for one week. Here’s the link.
Who knows, really, what price a really good iPad app should be? This is an evolving market. While there aren’t additional costs-per-unit as there are for books, we know how much work has gone into this app, how much time a child can spend with it and how much it rewards exploration.
As Children’s Technology Review, who awarded The Three Little Pigs an Editor’s Choice Award, said, when confirming, as many reviewers have, that we’ve priced the app appropriately:
“So is it worth $8 — easily the cost of a print edition? We think so, if you’re in search of a premium children’s ebook.”
We stand by our original pricing decisions (and the app will go back to the original prices in a week), but it will be interesting, too, to see how price-sensitive apps are – in particular, whether 5 euros represents any kind of barrier in eurozone countries (where you’d find many of the App Stores in which we’re New and Noteworthy).
The iPhone and iPod touch version are still at the same – cheaper – price. You can find them here.
Oh, and if you know the app already, and rate it and would like to vote for it as one of the Best Apps for Children (it’s called The Three Little Pigs ebook, and has, at the time of writing, a looooong way to go, I’m afraid!) do please click here