If you want to get a glimpse of the future of books for younger kids, you might want to have a look at TouchyBooks. These are books for smartphones and tablets, and they all feature interactive elements. They are created by a combination of writers, artists, and tech experts. They include animations and original music scores.
They also have a cooperation arrangement in which publishers, content owners, and writer/illustrators partner with them to turn their material into this kind of format. The revenue sharing is 50/50 (it’s not clear from the site whether or not there is any upfront financial obligation for the content providers). Publishers Weekly reported that Touchybooks have had more than 700,000 downloads of their app, and a catalogue of 70 titles, both new and classic titles. They are going for 200 titles by the end of 2011 and also will be releasing a software program that will enable illustrators and publishers to make their own interactive books to sell in app stores.
I’m not a sales rep for them, I just think it’s useful for authors to know where things are going—and if you happen to be an author/illustrator or a writer who has an illustrator to team with, it could be worth finding out more. Here’s a very short demo video: