It was conceived as an app for the Apple Store. The idea behind it is that 17 pictures are synced with 18 minutes of audio and the full text. If I say so myself, it’s rather clever because if you tilt into portrait you get the text, and if you look at it in landscape you get the full pictures (which are beautiful by the way).
So we wondered if people would buy the app if they could get the story for free on the site. I asked our artist, and she shook her head – “probably not” – she said. Perhaps she was being modest about the attractions of her illustrations. But not everyone has an iPod Touch or iPhone or iPad, so we decided to offer a “low-tech” version as a pdf and mp3.
And the result…
I am totally shocked by the howls of protest from kids and parents about how dare we charge for a story. One outraged parent even compared us to drug-dealers. Thanks a lot.
I do realise that many of our visitors are kids – who don’t have credit cards. Others come from countries where they can’t pay by credit cards- but usually the “English Language Learners” are more into the traditional stories. But I did think that parents in rich countries would see the $2 as a very small way to help out a free service. It turns out that they don’t.
I also think people don’t quite realise how much time (most of my time) and money we spend on Storynory, and how little money comes in from advertising. We try not to go on about money matters. I find it hard to hold out a begging bowl. But we do pay everyone who works for us: That means narrators, illustrators, and musicians – everyone in fact, except for me.
So this selling thing: It’s rather depressing.
But I am greatly cheered by this first review which has just appeared in the US view of the Apple iTunes store.
My four year old loves it! – ****
by KHrncir – Version 01 – 01 February 2011
It’s a lovely picture book on the iPhone which my 4 year old can look at and listen to on the way to school. I love that you can choose between text or pictures along with the audio. My 8 year old hasn’t played with it yet, but the 4 year old asks for it every day and the 6 year old will love that it’s Natasha reading! It’s a great price for a picture book with audio! I hope StoryNory comes out with more.
And a big thank you to those who have bought either the app or the mp3. We really do appreciate it.
I first found Storynory when my daughter was a baby. We’ve been listening to it every night now for 4 years. She absolutely loves it and so do I! I was excited to see an ipod app and downloaded it right away. $2 is about what I pay for any other educational kids app and I’m more than happy to support Storynory in this way. Thank you for years of entertainment!! I’ve recommended your website to every parent I know.
February 2, 2011
Thank you Tess, for your message of support, for buying the app, and for spreading the word. It’s really great, and a much needed boost to our Morale.
I also thought I would add that we currently have a paid-for app in the store that’s made by Wizzard and gives people our latest stories a little bit like the podcast does.. I’ve never really been happy with it, and it’s my aim to program one myself that will be free. Really what I do best is to write stories, and programming takes me a lot of time and causes me a lot of torment. But hopefully we will be able to add a significant strand to our free service with the skills that I am currently acquiring in making apps.
I think paying is NOT unfair because gosh, you guys need money too. I mean, I think the people that don’t want to pay are the unfair ones. You guys need a life, too after all. And the parent that compared you to drug-dealers is the most meanest. You guys are nice, not mean and you’re just trying to make a little money! The people should thank storynory for providing awesome stories. I hope I can get this story soon!
February 2, 2011
We’ve been following Storynory for years now too (I’m a home-schooling mum of 4 littlies) and I’ve always wondered how you manage to provide such an awesome product for FREE?! I’d be happy to support you guys -tho it’ll have to be ‘low-tech’ for us for now. And will keep spreading the word about you.
February 2, 2011
This podcast is at such a higher level of quality than any other I’ve been able to find. I’ve looked a great deal, but I haven’t found any that are as appealing.
When someone comes up with a viable economic alternative to commercialism, I’m sure you guys will jump right on board.
Until then, thanks so much for the huge percentage of free content at such a professional level.
A satisfied daddy
ps. We were glad to see Natasha back!
February 5, 2011
Thank you Nigel-n-Luca, those are really kind comments and just the thing that keeps us going !
You guys are awesome! Just found StoryNory and you will be seeing a new app purchase soon, as soon as we can figure out how to get the silly AppleID thing working! Keep on keepin’ on – these stories are a truly wonderful resource for kids – high quality, beautifully presented, with decency, creativity and heart.
€2 or dollars are really little money for your great work. I enjoyed so many of your stories that wouldn’t mind to pay for some.
March 4, 2011
I don’t know why people complain about the price. $2 isn’t very much. We get all the other Katie stories for free so why is it so bad for storynory to support itself to give us more free stories. Thanks Bertie for the stories.
Storynory fan —
March 7, 2011
I’ve just purchased the Katie story. I would quite happily pay for more. Storynory is a fantastic resource. My children are aged 1 to 11 and we listen to the stories in the car. We all enjoy them, get something out of them and they are great for fostering discussion on a wide range of subjects. Our favourite is ‘the cat who walked by himself.’ The silence I, as the driver, enjoy while the kids are engaged in listening is worth paying for!
March 24, 2011
Dear Lorraine, Many thanks for buying this story and for your message of support. To tell you the truth, the idea of us selling the occasional story, even with lots of extra illustrations, has not gone down with most people, so I don’t think we will be doing it again soon.
I also think that Richard’s reading of the Cat that walked by itself is one of the jewels of the site ! It’s one of my all time favourites.
Please don’t get discouraged! As someone long involved in producing free media myself, I am all too aware that there are many consumers whose greatest investment is in the “free” part. However, for great products like Storynory, there will always be enough people who value it enough to contribute or help you find funds, and I think they outnumber the very uncharitable ones. Unfortunately negative comments and accusations occupy an outsized portion of our consciousness compared to the actual number of people who produce them. Storynory is invaluable to our family — please don’t hesitate to tell your community what you need to keep going.
April 7, 2011
I just found your site and it is amazing. I am equally amazed that nearly everything is free. Of course writers, illustrators, voice artists, coders etc should be paid for their work and expertise! Know your value and don’t be afraid to charge!