Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
I had to fly back home to Atlanta a few weeks ago for a friend’s wedding, and though I was excited to be going home for a few days, I was in a grumpy mood. I settled into my aisle seat, praying that the seat next to me would remain empty so I could stretch out a bit. I had no luck on that front, but my seat mate, Sara, turned out to be a great flying companion. We started chatting, and when she found out that I attended Emerson College and was studying publishing, she got really excited; although Sara is an attorney, she’s a voracious reader and almost entered the publishing industry herself. When she told me that she was a mother of two young boys, I couldn’t help “interviewing” her about whether her children use e-readers.
We’ve all seen them. Kids, toddlers even, who can use iPhones, iPads, and Kindles with alarming skill. Parents will give their phones or tablets to their children to keep them entertained on long car rides or during a trip to the grocery store. I can see the use for that method in some cases, but I guess I’m old-fashioned. Why not give just give them a good ol’ print book? I wondered what Sara’s reaction to this question would be.
To my surprise, she agreed with me. She said that she didn’t understand the fad of e-readers for children, and when I asked her if she had downloaded any children’s book apps for her kids, she looked as if she didn’t know such apps existed. It may be happening slowly, but the future for children’s books is changing right before our eyes. E-readers and e-books are definitely on the rise in the children’s marketplace. Enhanced e-books for children are being created with embedded videos and animation for the kids to enjoy. There are also some great children’s book apps available, if you have the time to search for them.
Will children be satisfied with just text and pictures in the near future? Or will a book have to contain video and music to capture their attention? Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I examine the debate between printed children’s books and children’s e-readers.