7. How closely involved is Dr. Seuss Enterprises with creating the app?
Michel Kripalani: Dr. Seuss Enterprises owns all digital rights, so we were able to engage in licensing arrangements directly with them. They are very involved at the onset of each app and also at the stage of final review. They approve all voice-over actors and all aspects of each app. That said, the “middle 90%” where we go off and do our production work is generally all managed entirely by the Oceanhouse Media team.
8. In your licensing agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, you absorb the costs of producing the app, from start to finish. You’ve already completed 16 out of 44 titles. How long does it take, on the average, to complete production of one story app?
Michel Kripalani: On average, we’ll spend about 8 weeks developing each omBook™, now that the foundational technology is in place. Multiple disciplines are involved during this time, including graphic designers, voice-over artists, sound effects artists and musicians, technical artists, programmers, management, and the licensor.
9. The Cat in the Hat app sells for $3.99, and is usable on any Apple mobile device — that is, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. You sell a separate version for the Android. How many Dr. Seuss apps have you sold overall so far?
Michel Kripalani: We’ve sold over 500,000 Dr. Seuss apps (in total) and we recently crossed the one million mark for paid app downloads at the App Store (all Oceanhouse Media apps). This is fairly astounding when you consider that the company is only 2 years old. Amazingly, just two and a half years ago, very few people had ever even heard of apps.
10. What advice would you give to new and seasoned authors (and, if applicable, their agents) concerning electronic rights when they draw up contracts on their future books?
Michel Kripalani: When an author is in a position to keep physical and digital book rights distinct, we have found that it just makes sense for them to do so.
Oftentimes, an author may want to work directly with an app publisher on the digital versions of their books, regardless of who holds the print rights. There are major differences in competencies between a physical book publisher and a digital app developer / publisher. Authors need to ask themselves if they would be better served crafting deals appropriately.