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Sesame Workshop to publish electronic books for kids

December 8, 2009 |  2:23 pm
EBook Monster at the End of this Book page
A page in "The Monster at the End of This Book." Credit: Sesame Workshop.

D is for digital.

Sesame Workshop, the home of Elmo, Big Bird and Grover, will publish digital children's books starting next year.

To give young readers and their parents a taste, the nonprofit group is giving access to a set of five free digital books on its website, including the classic "The Monster at the End of the Book." Words on the screen are highlighted as they are narrated by "Sesame Street" characters, helping kids follow along the text. In the future, the organization said it will also integrate activities, such as mini-games, to help kids learn how to read.

Next spring, Sesame Workshop plans to start selling individual books on the website, along with subscriptions for monthly access to a library of more than 100 digital titles. A spokeswoman said pricing has not yet been determined, but that there will always be a rotating set of five free books on the site.

Sesame Workshop hired Impelsys, a digital publishing company based in Bangalore, India, and New York, to operate the underlying technology.

The Walt Disney Co. in September launched its own digital book store. Rather than sell individual titles, however, Disney gives families access to a library of 500 books for an annual subscription fee of $79.95.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

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