A lot of parents tend to want to limit “screen time” for their kids, and push them to read more books instead. Understandably so: Consuming television is generally a very passive activity, and many games on computers and mobile devices are not much better. When it comes to stimulating kids’ imaginations and building their reading and vocabulary skills, it’s hard to get better than good old fashioned books.
Adults have great digital reading experiences thanks to iBook and other apps, but such programs are not exactly kid-friendly. So for many kids under the age of 12 or so, the iPad is for games and movies, and reading is mostly done on physical books.
A new startup called Epic! aims to finally bridge that gap by bringing a totally kid-friendly bookshelf and book reading experience to the iPad. Co-founded by online gaming veteran Suren Markosian and former YouTube exec Kevin Donahue, Epic is an all-you-can-read app aimed at kids aged 12 and under that provides access to some 2,000 titles for online and offline reading. The subscription service costs $9.99 per month.
Since Epic’s experience is so visual, we asked CEO Suren Markosian to stop by the TechCrunch TV studio to show us the experience hands-on — it’s got a lot of the fun graphics and incentives you’d expect from a kids’ game, with the tactile replication of what it’s like to read a physical book. There are also some great parental features for monitoring how much time your child has spent reading each book and his or her progress and tastes.
It looks like Epic strikes the perfect balance between educational and fun, and should allow parents to feel more confident about introducing the iPad into their children’s daily lives as a tool, rather than as a guilty pleasure or time-wasting treat.
Check it out in the video embedded above to see Epic in action and hear about why Markosian and Donahue decided to focus on the children’s reading space.