Babette Cole starts e-book venture

Babette Cole starts e-book venture

Children's author Babette Cole has set up a digital publishing company, Inky Sprat, to release e-books and apps of her own works and those of other authors.

Cole will release titles where the e-book rights have reverted, or were never sold. Colin and Jacqui Hawkins, Tony Ross, David McKee, Charlotte Voke, Michelle Cartlidge and Susie Jane-Tanner are among the authors interested in following suit, she said.

The company was set up with film-maker Manus Home and Neil Baber, who previously worked for David & Charles and Phaidon. The team will create the e-books using Apple iAuthor tool, and released the e-book of Cole's Lady Lupin's Book of Etiquette this week (£1.99). The e-book includes a video of Cole reading her work as well as the full text and illustrations, and readers can choose whether to watch the video, listen to the audio or just read. Also released is an app version of Cole's Mummy Laid an Egg (£1.99), for Apple devices, which also includes a game.

Cole said she set up the company to prevent works from languishing when copyright reverted or publishers failed to exploit digital rights. "Since your publisher doesn't know where this [digital developments] is going, they say" 'We want all your e-rights', and you say: 'Fine' . . .  but the thing is they will sit on them for as long as they like," she commented. "And I say, there must be a time-limit—24 months, then use them, otherwise they revert to me." 

She added: "I don't think there is any reason why authors can't do some things on our own."