People frequently ask my thoughts on the “e-book revolution.” Do I believe that e-books will one day replace physical books in the same way that the iPods supplanted the once ubiquitous compact disc? Or, will the two formats find a way to co-exist? Specifically, people want to know how e-readers like the Kindle, Nook, and the iPad are affecting children’s literature.
E-readers are undoubtedly changing they way certain genres of literature are being consumed. For example, traditional newspapers and magazines are disappearing at an incredible rate all across the country. However, these periodicals were always disposable in nature to begin with. The old saying goes, “Today’s front page headline, tomorrow’s kitty litter liner.” Children’s books are timeless, and meant to be passed down from old to young.
I do not believe that e-books will ever entirely take the place of physical books in the children’s literature genre. I believe that they can supplement the readership, but perhaps only in terms of its portability and accessibility. When my children were younger, they loved to spend time reading and throwing their favorite books around. Nothing could ever take the place of them on my lap, and all of us helping to turn the pages together.
We have published many e-books throughout our history at Mascot Books, with more and more coming out every day. I must admit, seeing one of our own books on a Kindle for the first time was pretty exciting. I look forward to continuing to be on the cusp of this exciting new technology. But, what exactly does the future hold for e-books? I would be a fool to even attempt to give a definitive answer on any of these questions.
In the end, it’s not really up to me, is it? It’s up to my bosses—all the kids out there, clamoring to read and be read to by their loved ones. And, in my mind, anything that gets kids passionate about reading is a “revolution” of its own! What do you guys think?