Monday, January 28, 2013

New iPad APP Composer Tutorial - Demibooks!

Great News! Folio Academy just released a new tutorial that teaches how to produce a children's story app using the Demibooks Composer software. Here is a link to the TUTORIAL.

Heidi Berthiaume gives a very in depth and clear tutorial on how you can take your story and art work and use the Demi Books Composer to create your own iPad app. You use your own iPad to download the free software from Demibooks. You import images and assets to your iPad and actually create the app on your iPad for the iPad - how cool is that? No programmer necessary. After you're finished you have a few options: you can choose to publish to the Apple app store on your own and/or submit your book to Demibooks Storytime and become part of a growing library of books from other indie developers AND McGraw Hill and Kane Miller. DBS - is promoted by Usborne Books.

In the first option you pay Demibooks $249 to get the digital file to upload to Apple - then every sale you make apple will pay a royalty of 70% to you. So, if you priced your book at $1.99 Apple would pay you roughly $140/sale. In this option you would also need to set up a developer account with Apple for $99/year. The cool thing is that they will hold your hand and do the submitting on your behalf!

Personally I feel that this is really worth it. I've already made back the money I spent on I EAT YOU! and then some from Talespring and my royalty is 50% with them. I would advise that you do everything in your capability to make your app appealing emotionally i.e. amazingly funny, cute, sad, gross, offensive, touching, etc. The time for A is for Apple is over.

The second option is really a continuation of the first - I just wanted to make sure that we discussed it separately. If you go through the development and publishing process in the first option and Demibooks likes your book they may decide to include it in their Storytime library. This is especially exciting because it's hard enough to get attention for your digital book without any extra "love". Demibooks curates it's library for artistic quality, story, and overall product integrity. In some ways this feels like a higher form of indie publishing and what I have been predicting for many months - that there will be collections developing online to help consumers find higher quality digital story books.

Here is a little on Hedi - creator of "Develop A Children's Book iPad App"

Heidi Berthiaume loves to create stuff - from websites to iPad apps to written stories to fan music videos. She spent fifteen years as an information architect providing instructional documentation for programmers and designers so they could develop applications and websites for businesses such as 3M, Hilton, and American Airlines (which paid the mortgage but was less fun than writing a novel and developing her children's picture book Bud the Bunny into an iPad app). The portal to all of her stuff is

I'll be doing an update post on "I EAT YOU!" in the not too distant future...


  1. This is fantastic news! I'm constantly researching ways to publish my book, and I'll have to check this out as well. The only problem is that it's probably only for iPad, so it won't be accessible to the millions of people that use Kindles instead.

  2. Adam - developing a book into an iPad app is different than translating a book into a different file format like Kindle. If you are interested, I have some notes about the differences between apps and ebooks from a talk I gave last year at FenCon on my website -

  3. Your blog is a treasure chest - always full of good stuff. I will definitely check out Demibooks and the video. Thank you! :)

    1. Thank you Teresa! I really appreciate it - I try hard - thank you!

  4. I'm afraid I am almost finished with my first e-book, and it is very much along the lines of A is for apple. I did it, planning to make it into an app, but I'm not even sure about that at this point. Either way, it was a good learning experience. If i can turn even a small profit on it, I might invest that in one of these programs. Thanks for sharing.

    1. FYI - I think you're awesome for doing it and learning - it's a great attitude to have! One reason I haven't pushed my second app out there is that I want to make sure it's as awesome as I'm capable of...I EAT YOU! was my learning experience - the one I'm currently working on is getting a lot of TLC and I have high hopes for it. But in the end if it doesn't do well I'll chalk it up to the fact that it didn't impact people - time to try again - and again - and again!

  5. Wonderful information as always Will... so this is only on the iPad as an app? That's sad... I'm iPadless. Still, I'll look into it further.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi. I think Demibooks only works on the iPad, but there is another option that is pretty good too. Check It is an app composer that works on PCs and Macs. A new and much easier to use version will be available on the beginning of March, so do not download the current version because the user interface is different and complicated compared to the new one.
      With the new version they will also release an app (Interactplayer) that allows you to share your apps with 5 people for free (if you only want your family or friends to try it, or if you want to show it to a client). The composer also has a Simulator/Preview so you can try out what you are doing while you are creating your app. Up to here everything is free.
      If you want to publish: They charge a little bit more than Demibooks ($299 per year) but this price allows you to publish your app in the App store, make as many updates as you want, share your app with 10 people instead of 5, get support (they are really supportive) and tutorials to create your app.
      There are two publishing options (I think you can decide when you´re ready to publish): publish on the Interactbooks library, or publish on your own as an independent developer.
      With the first option, your book app is included in the Interactbooks library but you still receive 70% of the earnings (they don´t deduct any of your royalties, that´s why they raised the priced from 249 to 299). They submit the app for you to the App store, and you can make as many updates as you want for free. If your app has a bug, they will either allow you to fix it or fix it for you (if it is caused by the release of a new IOs version, a new Ipad generation –although this is not supposed to happen but you never know right?…) at no extra cost. This price includes the publication of one app; if you want to publish more apps you have to pay $99 per app. They want to make the created apps work on most platforms (IOS,Pcs, Android) and they plan to do it this year (although not sure when); when they do, they will make the necessary adjustments so your app can work on these platforms (for free).
      With the second option, it is a bit similar to Demibooks (without the Library). You publish your app on your own, with you as the developer (getting 70% of the royalties) but you need a developer account with Apple (which I think it is $99 per year for an indefinite number of apps). Then you can use IB to create and publish as many apps as you want without paying any extra money. You can also make as many updates as you want (I think Apple allows you to do this without problem). If you want to make a new and improved version, you don´t have to pay anything extra to IB, but you would then need to submit it to the app store as if it was a completely new app. The only disadvantage is that if you have a bug in your app, they will not fix it for you (you would do it by editing it on Interactbuilder at no cost). Also, you would have to prepare your app if you want it to work on other platforms, other than IOS. I am not sure if they submit the app for you to the App store or if you have to do it (have to ask).
      I think all the info here is right (sorry if there is something wrong but I haven´t had time to double check). It would be best if you go to their website and check all the information by yourself.
      Hope this helps!!

  6. Hi!
    I'm just about to get started on this course, but have a question that's been bothering me... I'm a huge fan of children's prints books, but not of games that are marketed at children - so my question is, where is the line between a story app that's interactive enough to satisfy the parent app purchaser, and not so interactive it becomes a game that takes away from the magic and imagination behind a picture book??
    Any ideas welcome!!

    1. Hi Julie,

      You couldn't be more dead on right! Of course these story apps are in their infancy right now so everyone is guessing or copying what others are doing instead of following their passion. Right now we're putting out some awful apps and a few good ones now and them. Personally I agree with you about not wanting to take away the magic of pictures and inference - predictions and logic. Film is valuable because it's film. Books are valuable because they're books. I think story apps will be valuable when we figure out what needs to be interactive and what is distracting and superfluous. Thanks for your insight!


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