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Entries in Books (6)

Win 1 of 5 Free Copies of 'The History of Jazz'

We let you know how great we thought The History of Jazz iPad app is in our review a few days ago, you should really check it out if you haven't already. We're sure you will want a copy of this $9.99 app when you see the review and the promo video.

Now the, lovely people at 955 Dreams have given you, as a valued iPad Creative reader, a chance to win one of five free copies of the app.

Here's how you can win:

1) Follow us on Twitter (you can, of course, skip this step if you already follow us).  You have to be following us so that we can DM you if you win.  Plus we post loads of cool stuff on Twitter that we don't cover here on the blog so we promise to try and make it worth your while.

2) Click on this link to be taken to your Twitter page and tweet the message exactly as it appears before 1855 GMT on Friday 18th February 2011 (click this link to see this time in your Time Zone). Mutliple entries will be accepted but please do not spam your followers!

We will randomly select five winners from those who have tweeted the exact message as per Step 2 above. We will let the winners know their promo code via DM as soon as we can after the closing date.

2 Gorgeous iPad Books reviewed

Teddy's Day and new Teddy's Night are two of the most visually appealing, beautifully illustrated, interactive Children's books we have seen so far on the iPad, and my kids love them!

Geek Factor

The developers of these two interactive books, Auryn Inc., have created software that uses special techniques to animate 2D and 3D art so that pages from the book literally come to life. An element on a page, say a book or a drawn character, are suddenly animated when you touch them with no obvious jump cuts, blurring or stuttering in the animation.

These techniques have been used to create full animated DVDs and other stories by Auryn, it is fascinating stuff and you can see more detail and samples (when using a Computer) of the DVDs by following the links on their Products page.

Interactive Fun

All of this builds into a seamless, involving experience that fascinates young ones (and the not so young) and encourages them to experiment by touching different parts of the illustration on the page in front of them to see which elements will respond.

Sometimes, my youngest who is three years old, found this frustrating because he was wildly tapping parts of the screen and nothing was happening, so a little guidance was needed to point him towards the interactive elements of the page.

When the reader turns the lights off and on the colours and light transitions are fabulous and it really looks like that is what you are doing, it is an effect the developers are obviously fond of as it is used quite a bit.

Other pages have a TV remote which actually switches the channel to another programme, the bathroom scene in Teddy's Night is packed with interactive elements such as a matching game on the bath tiles, bubbles that bounce around the screen and are popped when you touch them and a few other surprises (hint: try seeing what the boat does, and the Moon on the Title page of Teddy's Night).

There are creative opportunities too, both books have a drawing page with coloured crayons, variable crayon widths, eraser, etc. which add the saved picture to the wall in the little girl's room. We thought this was a nice touch and added a personal element to the book. 

  

Teddy's Night includes a building blocks game which has some slightly odd physics but kept the kids interested for a while trying to rebuild the tower.

Auryn do help out by circling the main interactive elements after the narration has finished on the page, but there are some things which are not indicated, which we think is a good thing because play and discovery of 'hidden' interactivity keeps curious children interested.

Just one problem

There were a couple of times when we came out of the app unexpectedly (the Home button seems very attractive to little hands) but neither app remembers where you were so, frustratingly, we had to wait for the book to load and then go through all the pages until we got to the point where we left off. It isn't the end of the world, but when you have two impatient children under 6 who keep stabbing at the screen it can be a real annoyance.

Recommended Reading

This doesn't stop us recommending these books wholeheartedly for some gentle fun, eye-pleasing visuals and repeated distraction for children and their 'grown-ups', be sure to check out the video previews and let us know what you think if you do buy either of them.

Teddy's Day is currently in the app store for $1.99 (£1.19) and Teddy's Night, a more recent release, is currently on offer for $0.99 (59p) but both books will be rising soon to $7.99, so we suggest grabbing them now.

Friday Fun: The iPad - now in Hardback

Got an iPad loaded with eBooks? Got lots of 'real' hardback books hanging around taking up space that you don't want to throw away?  Re-purpose a hardback book into a case for your iPad - watch this video from Larry Greenberg (more detail below the video):

These cases are made by Etsy seller vintagecovers (artist Randy Belyk) and the design of the case seems pretty sturdy. We like the strap that fastens around the back cover when closed to keep the iPad wrapped up tight and also stretches across and attaches to the front cover when used as a stand to prevent slipping. Nice touch!

There are some pre-prepared covers on the site using vintage books but if, like Larry in the video above, you have a classic book (or comic it seems) then Randy can make you a custom cover.

A custom vintage cover for your iPad will cost you around $50, but you really will have a unique case for your iPad.

If you get one of these let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

More 3D Fun Headed To Your iPad

The problem with pop-up books, especially if children are involved, is that they can easily get damaged or even parts ripped out, so they do not last long. Well, help is on its way for today's e-Parents with a new app that is about to be submitted to Apple.

Ideal Binary have developed Grimm's Rumpelstiltskin an electronic book app for the iPad (there is also an iPhone version separately). Described as "the world’s first fully 3D interactive pop-up book" the app looks impressive from the video preview.

Book publishing on the iPad, especially Children's books, is a very exciting and fast developing sphere of activity and we can't wait to get our hands on this app to try it out. Hopefully we can in a couple of weeks.

The Littlest Girl On The Big iPad Screen

Parents are getting a lot of help recently with teaching and literacy for their children using the iPad. Just yesterday we mentioned a fun and interactive app to help pre-school children learn their Alphabet and today we heard about the release of Thumbelina for the iPad.

This interactive children's book is from Parent-programmers Touchoo, who focus on producing beautiful book-apps for Toddlers and pre-school children. We have to say the illustrations by artist and illustrator Hagit Hashimshoni are really appealing and simply gorgeous. More of her illustrations for this book are to be found in a Flickr group here.

Interactive Features

An interesting approach has been taken in some scenes, as you will see in the video above, where children are encouraged to interact with the Thumbelina story by physically moving the drawing and acting out the story. We thought this was a nice innovation and will help to engage the child's imagination by becoming actively involved with the story telling process.

Thumbelina screenshots08.png

There are four ways to experience the story of Thumbelina with this app (taken from the iTunes description):

  1. Read to Me – listen to the story, narrated in English
  2. Read Myself – the most flexible story time experience
  3. Record myself – your voice, your language, and your way to tell the story!
  4. Auto page flip – Using any one of the narration options, pages will turn automatically. Best for little ones, when they’re reading alone.

Thumbelina for the iPad is on sale at 50% of its usual price until 31 August to celebrate the launch of the app, so you can pick it up now for £1.19 ($1.99) if you are quick.

If you try it, let us know what you and your little ones think of it, in the comments below.

iPad Kindle App officially announced

We knew it was coming but Amazon have officially announced their Kindle App for 'Tablet computers including the iPad' (italics ours) on their website.  The announcement focusses on the app, but the iPad makes it into the headline, with a specific mention later on too.  It is an interesting play for Amazon, especially when many pundits have said that Apple is looking to put some pressure on Amazon with their iBookstore.

The Kindle app has been available on the iPhone for just over a year now, but the iPhone is not really suited for reading books or magazines for most people.  This announcement is of note because it appears to duplicate one of Apple's most touted iPad features, the iBookstore.  Business Insider have an interesting side-by-side comparison of the two apps on their site and it is obvious which one is Apple's, as they say:

So far, it looks like Apple is winning the design contest, especially for its e-book store.

 Duplication = customer choice?

There is certainly function duplication here, and Apple have refused apps on the iPhone simply because they 'duplicated functionality' already installed on the device.  However, the deals that Amazon have with publishers and the books they have available should differ from Apple's selection in theory.

In addition, Apple would certainly be seen to be anti-competitive if they refused the Kindle app simply because it sold books too, wouldn't they?

However, as Amazon are announcing the Kindle app, we can only assume it will be available in the app store for the iPad sometime after it launches.  It is a complex relationship that Apple and Amazon has at the moment and it will be fun watching it pan out.  Our only hope is that the choice will remain in the app store, to the benefit of us, the end consumer.

What do you think about Amazon's play here?  Let us know in the comments.