Here I will speak for myself. The author of my illustrated book, Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs, Linda Ashman sent me an email just last week with a link to an app for our book. I don't have a kindle or an iPad (yet!), but I immediately downloaded it to my iPhone and played around with it. "Played" is the keyword here. With all of the bells ringing every time you turn a page (go here to experience how Iceberg Kids apps work.) and the recorder to make your own voice reading the story, it becomes a toy, and not the intimate experience of reading a book. I applaud the opportunity to record a favorite uncle's voice reading the story-- or even the child's voice reading aloud to his or herself, but what then? Is the child put to bed with their iPhone/iPad reading to them? What happened to the warm lap or the comforting arm around the pajama-clad child? Not to mention the interaction between child and adult as they page through the picture book together. (Check this out to see that the picture book is alive and well. )To me, it is a toy. An educational toy. Would I have bought one for my kids when they were little? Yes, especially for long drives in the car. But there would also be the box of books in the car for them to leaf through at their leisure, forwards and backwards, again and again. And at home, there would be just as many books on the shelves, because books are books, and apps are toys.
In terms of conferring with the author and illustrator about the making of the app, here is my two cents: In the Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs app from Iceberg Kids, there is an automatic zoom from a close-up of the image to the overall spread after the words have been read. The choice of "close-ups" from which to zoom does not always make sense. Had I been consulted, I would definitely have had a few things to say about the visuals that would make a better flow of text and image for the user of this app. (Note: I say "user" rather than "reader"-- it is a different experience, and I say this with no judgement of good or bad. ) It is very early in the world of picture book apps, but I would call for the inclusion of the original illustrators and authors when possible, in order to make a more integrated experience of the original picture book. This would allow each app its own unique look, just like each picture book is unique. This would be more appealing than wrestling and pulling each picture book to conform to the format of the app which tends to be rather institutional in its aesthetic. But this would take the same careful attention an author, illustrator, editor, and designer give to each picture book. This would take time. And with the speedy growth of the eBook and Apps, I don't think this kind of time is possible.