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PicPocket Books: Bringing Children’s Picture Books to Life on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

PicPocket Books (www.picpocketbooks.com) is a small partnership of individuals who are passionate about the great art and stories in children’s books, as well as their educational value, and we love to think creatively about technology solutions. Our goal is to make classic children’s titles available anywhere, anytime, and to promote both new and old stories to the tech savvy generation.

PicPocket Books publishes quality children’s picture books as apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. We currently have over 100 apps in our collection on iTunes. (Search for PicPocket Books on iTunes, or check our website).

The idea for PicPocket Books came from Founder and CEO Lynette Mattke in early 2009, when there were not many kids book apps on iTunes. The business was started on a shoestring budget by a group of partners with software programming experience. In the summer of 2010 PicPocket Books was awarded a grant from Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies ® MomInspired Program for our innovative ideas that help make life easier for moms.

PicPocket Books offer a unique and new experience, combining the beauty of quality picture books with audio recordings and interactive visual text. This combination enables independent enjoyment for children regardless of reading level, subtle support for early readers, and nostalgic fun for adults.

Picture books are classic icons of art and culture. Not only are they beautiful and entertaining, they teach young children about the relationship between words and images, cause and effect. The mobile, digital age is fully upon us, and the ubiquitous iPhone is a great platform for picture books. The pictures come through crystal clear and vibrant, and you can reach right into your pocket to pull out the device when you have a few minutes to wait in line, at a doctor’s office, or when your child grows bored on a car or plane ride.

Picture book apps are a perfect complement to regular story time with parents or grandparents, and a gentle alternative to flashy, fast-paced digital media time. The books can be downloaded with one click or tap, and provide educational and entertainment value to children and adults alike. PicPocket Books stand out from other apps because we have a educational focus, a large library of titles, and handcraft each of our apps to remain faithful to the original print book while introducing additional enhancements that utilize the high tech features of the iPhone and iPad. PicPocket Books has the largest and most “literary” selection of picture books available on the iPhone. We offer a wide range of classic content from established publishers, including previously published “board books,” concept books, easy readers, fairy tales, and other culturally diverse picture books. We produce our titles through an artistic process and our apps remain faithful in content to the original books. The full color illustrations are detailed and clear. The text is easily readable and we offer a “learn-to-read” feature where the text is highlighted as the word is spoken, encouraging the connection between the written and spoken word for emergent readers.

Our apps aid and encourage kids in learning to read and promote literacy by offering positive exposure to books and stories. First of all, most kids are very curious about electronic gadgets. Why not capitalize on that fascination to grab their initial interest? Whether we’re talking print or digital books, reading is an active mental process: something to encourage at every opportunity.

Here at PicPocket Books, we are app developers, but we’re parents of young kids first. And as parents, we are mindful of the content kids are experiencing on mobile devices and amount of exposure they are getting to the screen. Why do kids get a lot of screen time? One reason is because they are really drawn to this kind of media. The technologies that are new to us are very intuitive to them and will be a significant part of their lives for years to come. We think it’s important to introduce our children to quality and age-appropriate content on the screen, whether we’re talking mobile digital technology, desktop computers or other media. We don’t see PicPocket Books as replacements for print books or the valuable time parents can spend reading to their children, but as educational and culturally valuable alternatives to video games or movies, especially for families on-the-go.

Reading a story book on a screen is also a very different experience from playing a repetitive video game on the same screen. It has the same educational, mind-opening benefits as reading a traditional print book: increases vocabulary, improves concentration and focus, and expands horizons.

PicPocket Books has added interactive audio hot spots to selected PicPocket Book titles like our Tractor Mac series, Peterkin Meets a Star, Monster Trucks, Tractors, Rescue Vehicles, and Round Is A Mooncake. We have added additional animations to titles like Cinderella, Snuggle Mountain, Far to the North, and more. The animations are subtle, like snow falling or stars twinkling, because we publish previously published books rather than made-for-iPhone stories – so the artwork is already drawn, and we strive to remain faithful to the original book. Our intent is to encourage curiosity by adding elements of interactive discovery to each title which the hot spots and subtle animations provide. We are consciously NOT creating video games, but hope that PicPocket Books can offer a gentle alternative to games for parents who want to offer their children mobile digital books.

Our apps have been downloaded tens of thousands of times, and we anticipate introducing approximately 80 new apps this year.

Our PicPocket Books blog (www.picpocketbooks.com/blog), our Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/PicPocket-Books/105763006868) and Twitter (@picpocketbooks) keep our community of users updated. We also offer periodic promotions for free downloads on these sites.

PicPocket Books is actively seeking submissions of illustrated children’s picture books for consideration for publication on our platform. Interested parties should contact lmattke at picpocketbooks.com for more information.

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