Egmont launches War Horse app, humour list

Egmont Press is launching a new imprint for humour books, and will partner with leading developers Touch Press for a War Horse app.

The app, based on Michael Morpurgo’s bestselling book, which has been also made into a hit play and last year’s Stephen Spielberg film, launched this week at Bologna Children's Book Fair. It is currently being produced with Touch Press, the developers whose apps include The Solar System and The Waste Land, which it produced with Faber.  

The app will feature a specially filmed performance of War Horse by Morpurgo, accompanied by musicians John Tams and Barry Coope. It will also have interviews with Morpurgo filmed in Iddesleigh, Devon, where the novel begins and ends, plus historians discussing the First World War.

Touch Press c.e.o. Max Whitby said: “We plan to deliver an interactive experience, distinct from the play or the film, at a time of growing awareness of the First World War.”

In addition to the abridged text used for the performance, the original book’s full text will also be included alongside a full audio reading, context-sensitive notes, period documents and artefacts.  

War Horse has sold almost £3.4m through Nielsen BookScan UK since records began in 1998, and it topped the overall British chart for seven consecutive weeks this year during the film’s release.

Egmont’s new imprint, Jelly Pie, was officially presented on Monday (19th July) at Bologna. It will exclusively publish humour titles for the six to eight age range, with the first title, Jim Smith’s Barry Loser: I Am Not a Loser, published in June. There will be a further six new titles for 2012, and several of Egmont’s backlist humour titles—including Andy Stanton’s You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum—will be moved over to the imprint.   

Leah Thaxton, Egmont Press’ fiction publishing director said she would be looking to expand the list with “quality, not necessarily quantity”. She added: “I really want the Jelly Pie imprint to be a badge of excellence, a badge of fun. I want to get to a point in a few years when children, parents and booksellers see the Jelly Pie logo they will think, ‘this is guaranteed fun’.”