By Dennis Abrams
With the issue of discoverability dominating discussion for app and e-book creators and publishers, Ruckus Media hopes to offer a helpful service with the new Ruckus Reader.
The Reader is a reading platform with a digital library developed with educational experts and geared toward children from preschool through second grade. It offers iReaders (interactive apps) from popular brands such as Transformers, Crayola, Chuck & Friends, My Little Pony and Sea World, eReaders (a more traditional picture-book experience) of beloved classics like Curious George, and videos narrated by Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. Some titles are available for free, while others must be purchased. The platform also provides a “Ruckus Meter,” which will send weekly e-mail reports on a child’s reading progress to parents or teachers.
The Ruckus Reader, which is available in the iTunes store, houses all of the Ruckus Media Group’s interactive storybooks apps in what company founder Rick Richter calls “the Ruckus ecosystem.” The reader also includes 25 titles from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with titles from other houses to be added soon. The plan is to introduce 20 new titles per month, all aimed at children from age 3 to 8.
The apps are grouped on bookshelves by brand and reading level. On each bookshelf users get one free iReader title and sample of the two other titles on the shelf. “Everything in our world begins with free,” said Richter. “And that flies in the face of traditional publishing.” Individual titles can be bought for $3.99, and a subscription that includes unlimited access to all content for six months is available for $24.99. “In our model,” Richter explained, “we have many steps that a parent or child can enter, for free, or with app purchase, or subscription — it’s a helluva deal.”
“We’re going to enjoy wide use both in classrooms and in homes,” added Richter. “Our hopes are that we’ll put the parents and teachers on the same page, and we’ll be a curator for the space for parents who are frustrated with the whole digital experience.”