Queen Anne

New app offers kids a new, fun way to read books

New app offers kids a new, fun way to read books »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Tablets and iPads have changed the way we read books, and now a guy from Queen Anne is changing the actual reading experience -- what it feels like to read on those devices.

Joe Booth had an idea and he got funding to make it happen from kickstarter.com, where people post ideas and then complete strangers pitch in money to make the ideas become reality.

Booth wants to help kids learn by making reading more fun.

"Books have been around for hundreds of years, but they've been constrained by paper," he said. "Now we're reading books on devices, but these devices are alive and they can change."

Booth used to be a Microsoft video game guy, and now he's come up with what he calls "a novel you can play and a book that's a game."

It's an app called blank Vidya Books.

"It's a way that we can do some things. Inherently it's just fun, but it's a template that gives kids exposure to these rich worlds," Booth said.

The concept is that the story unfolds on the screen as though it's happening and being created at that moment. It happens in the second person and there are interactive decisions that the reader needs to make on the screen that impact the direction that the story takes.

The app is meant for kids, and Booth said he's getting positive feedback.

"Like when the guy's coming towards you, you get to chose when you punch him and stuff," a boy named Jackson said.

Booth said the app isn't meant to take the place of the great American novel, but if kids enjoy something they'll do it more and get better at it.

The Vidya Books app will hopefully be available in the app store by June.