Baker & Taylor imprint Silver Dolphin Books is getting into the app business. It plans to release six educational apps for the iOS and Android platforms in 2013, including two each based on Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter and Richard Scarry’s Busytown characters, for which it recently acquired nonexclusive digital rights. It also will release two titles based on an original property, Astro B-1.

The app publishing venture is the next step in Silver Dolphin’s transition to a content creator and IP owner, which began when v-p and publisher Jon Rosenberg joined Silver Dolphin in November 2011. Over the last year, the company has published or is developing 37 internally created book titles, representing just over half of its print frontlist. It specializes in educational, novelty, and activity books for children up to age 12.

“As a publisher and distributor of books acquired from international book packagers, we had no owned copyrights for further exploitation,” Rosenberg says. “We wanted to become established as a creator of our own IP. The app business will take us further into the creation of our own children’s content.”

Silver Dolphin is working with producer and developer John Sansevere on the apps, which will feature e-book components and interactive game play. Sansevere had worked previously with both Little Critter author Mercer Mayer and Richard (Huck) Scarry Jr., Richard Scarry’s son, and suggested that Silver Dolphin consider collaborating with them on apps.

“If we were going to make a foray into this business, we wanted to do it with recognized and identifiable properties,” Rosenberg says. The company’s long-term strategy is to offer a combination of licensed titles, titles based on its print books, and original apps such as Astro B-1.