One of the first app review sites that I contacted when I released Penelope the Purple Pirate storybook app was Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime. Her review of Penelope was so well done that I ended up using one of her quotes in most of my marketing material as she summed up what I hoped Penelope represented. “Penelope embodies many pro-social behaviors that are a good example for children to see and hear in a story.” She even made some suggestions on how to make the app better which my developer immediately did. Carisa has since grown her app review site into one of the most popular review sites out there! She shared with us some of her thoughts on the industry and how it has changed over the past few years as well as suggestions to make your app the best it can be.
- higher overall quality in production values and story content (fewer really bad books come across my tablet these days, as more thoughtfully produced works are released in numbers that drown out the ‘riff-raff’)
- more standard features & settings (at first, book apps had a lot of variation in how they were set-up, but most now have easy to use navigation, simple settings to control volume, narration, etc.)
- links outside the app and social media integration is being done a tiny bit more thoughtfully (most apps seem to at least tuck the social media icons and app store links in a secondary menu for parents these days, although these links continue to be a real turn-off for consumers)
- price stability (although there are a lot of quality free books, prices for paid apps seem to be stable around a bell curve between $0.99 and $4.99)
- more content than ever (exponential growth was something I thought would slow down, but so far, the market is still exploding with new app releases every month)
- more & more difficult to get noticed for each new app (it’s hard to rise above the noise in the app world, and the competition has also gotten more sophisticated, with more and more developers hiring PR firms to do their marketing)
- and very hard to get reviewed (the growth in the app market has not been matched by the growth in reviewers and review sites, although this field has grown enormously, the number of apps being released dwarfs any one site’s ability to cover the whole market)