Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The E-Revolution...I Need to Know

Everyone is talking about e-books. They are changing the way we think about publishing. They are changing the way we buy books. What’s next we wonder. Will book stores survive? Will publishers?

As a picture book writer, I didn’t think the e-book revolution would affect me much. I couldn’t imagine that e-books would ever replace picture books, but things are changing. Publishers are reluctant to take on picture books. Agents are hesitant to invest their time on picture books. Picture books are not selling like they used to.

Parents are stressed. Overextended. Most are not reading to their kids as much. They are encouraging their kids to read earlier and are more interested in easy readers than picture books. They want a short bedtime read, so they can get to bed. Many are ignoring the meatier, richly illustrated, meaningful picture books I love.

Richly layered picture books are being cast aside. I mourn their passing. Is there a place for picture books on e-readers? I didn’t think so, but I noticed that Barnes and Noble has six new e-board books for $3.99 each, and I have heard that more parents ae buying e-readers with kids in mind.

Is this true? Are parents reading to their kids from e-readers? E-readers are expensive. Are parents letting toddlers use their e-readers? Are they buying e-readers for kids?

I want to know what you think of the e-book revolution. Will it become a vehicle for picture books? Have you bought an e-reader for your child? Do you share your e-reader with children? Have you purchased any picture books for your e-reader?

I need to know.

Linda Garner


Stephsco said...

Because it's a newer technology, I think you're right about there being a lot of questions. I've been using the internet for social networking since the late 1990s, but for some people, opening a facebook account in 2009 was their first foray into "new media" beyond email. There's a learning curve, and I think early adopters are willing to take a chance with new technology, and we'll have to wait out some of the details.

Sources I've read point to December 2010 as a turning point for ebooks; everyone who got ipads for Christmas starting poking around on what they could use it for, and ebook sales soared. $400 for an ipad is not cheap, but it's less expensive than most laptops. As the prices come down, parents will be more willing to give their old ipads to their teenagers, much like handing down the used car. That is if you're in a privaledged family. Tons of teenagers have cell phones, and the kindle and nook apps are free. We're seeing ebooks creeping into all these new devices, and price is probably the main deterrant right now for younger readers having access to ebooks.

As for E picture books for toddlers, my instinct is to say it sounds like the dumbest idea. Who would give an expensive device to a child who will drop it or chew on the corner? What if leapfrog develops a toddler friendly e reader? Who knows!

N. R. Williams said...

Interesting thought. I have two things to say about this.

1. My four year old grandson is better than all the adults at the games on my smart phone.

2. I was at the specialty breakfast place, not a fast food place, and the couple at the next table had a lap top. While I couldn't over hear their conversation, he was showing off a picture book in full color. Amazing.

N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium