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Children's e-books? Would you?

Highlighted in the '100 things to watch  in 2011' is children's e-books.  Ad agency JWT who put the list together, say that children's dynamic stories will become more popular this year, and encouraging kids (who already know how to work the DVD player, laptop before nursery) to be even more ambidextrous learners who can switch seamlessly from text to graphics and games.

It seems to be an inevitable part of the trend in adults' fiction, which saw sales in the UK drop last year, but more than a million e-books were downloaded.

Kids, already used to downloading music, will feel that it is normal to download books too.  And many publishers are responding to the changing dynamic of reading, and will be publishing ebooks alongside their hardcopy version.

What do you think?  Would you let your 4 year old handle your iPad?  Would you buy them their own device?  It sounds like a great way to get kids engaged with reading, who otherwise might not be.  But, what about the joy of handling books, and the tactile learning that kids get from them?

9 thoughts on “Children's e-books? Would you?”

  • Zoe @ Playing by the book

    Maybe I need to try an ereader and then I'll be persuaded of their joys, but at the moment I can't imagine using them, let alone encouraging my kids to read on them. But who knows, maybe this time next year Geraldine will be making ebook docking stations alongside her beautiful bookcases?!

    • Ruth

      It's true, I have not tried one yet, but these things can grow on you. Interesting idea about docking stations...!
      Btw, your puppets inspired by Finland look fantastic - and it looks like a brilliant thing to do on a dark winter afternoon.

  • Ian Newbold

    I've let my son download a couple of comics to my iPhone, but his engagement with them has been very fleeting. I've tried downloading books to read, without any real success. I like tangible. But maybe on an iPad, a bigger device, they work better. Would be interested to find folks, and kids, using them.

  • Pam T~

    I'm not sure it's possible at this point to make a decision on ebooks. First of all, is electronic media okay for small fry to use? There's a warning now on Nintendo's 3D gameware that says that it's inappropriate for young children, as it may affect their brain development. eBooks seem safe enough, but are they developmentally neutral?

    Second, I don't think very young children should be reading books by themselves. I'm a firm believer that for most youngsters the love of reading grows because of the snuggling and the shared experience with those they love. So can you snuggle with an ipad?

    I would think you could snuggle with an ipad, but then the question becomes, do you let your four year old 're-read' the book all by himself. It would be cool to have an audio book version that would highlight the words as the book is read to the child..., but do you let your 4 year old have an $800 device semi-unsupervised! (I'm wondering if Thomas the Tank Engine's wheels would scratch the surface ;)

    Very interesting question though.


    • Ruth

      Pam, thanks for your thoughts - you're absolutely right that ebooks have the potential to take the shared experience out of reading with children. I found that out too to some extent when my son was given one of the electronic leap pad activity books, and found too that he got a bit obsessive about it, and not necessarily in a good way.

  • Capability

    I think the e-readers are not a problem. While I don't think they will ever entirely replace the feeling of a paper book for me, I have one - a Kobo e-reader - and really like it - as do my children.

  • back yard toys

    I agree with you Pam T.

  • Bronwen Scott-Branagan

    I do so agree. Ebooks are the latest thing and so much can be done with them, but there's nothing quite like a rather scruffy, much-loved 'real' paper book. Also, I wonder how safe the readers are for small children, or should we be wary about emissions, as we're told that mobile phones can lead to several problems.

    • Ruth

      Thanks for your thoughts Bronwen, and yes, there's nothing like a pre-loved book to bring back memories. Can't see an e-book being a great hand me down!

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