The Living Books series was one of the most successful CD-ROM products when it was first introduced by Broderbund in 1992; next month the series is making a return as interactive storybook apps. It is being developed for the new digital world by Wanderful, a San Francisco-based company headed by Mickey W. Mantle, who had overseen the Living Books launch when he was at Broderbund. Mantle brought in some other members of the Living Books team to work with him at Wanderful, including Mark Schlicting who is chief creative officer. “It’s Living Books redone for the app market,” Schlicting said in a visit to the PW offices to demonstrate the new line.
Among the app features are more interactivity, original music, more video and audio content, significantly higher screen resolution plus functionality that allows readers to switch to a different language anywhere in the story; Wanderful is developing apps in six languages that can be localized for a particular market. Schlicting estimated that each page in Arthur’s Teacher Trouble—one of Wanderful’ s three launch titles—has about 45 buttons that lead to a variety of interactive elements. Each app, which will be about 14 pages, will have more than 1,000 interactive items.
A single-language app is priced at $4.99 and additional languages can be added for $1.99 each. A premium version that provides multiple languages and class room activities guides and the right to future updates is $7.99. Schlicting said Wanderful is aiming for both the school and home market. The apps contain parental tips and parents can adjust the settings to what features they want to make active.
In addition to Arthur’s Teacher Trouble, the other launch titles are The Tortoise and the Hare and Mercer Mayer’s Little Monster at School. Wanderful licensed the rights from Broderbund’s parent company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The first apps will be available through the App store and iTunes, with Android and Windows versions due out later this year.