With Kids’ Books, Paper is Winning the War

I’m so glad I’m not alone.

I may be one of the few book junkies who has yet to move a Nook, Kindle or iPad. I love the look, feel and heft of a book too much to give it up. I know the day is coming. I’ve been coveting my almost-16-year-old’s ability to annotate directly on his iPad. But … not yet.

I’m going to hang out at the little kids’ table for a little while longer.

It seems that in the world of paper vs. e-book, childrens’ books have yet to embrace the inevitable transition. A recent New York Times article says:

As the adult book world turns digital at a faster rate than publishers expected, sales of e-books for titles aimed at children under 8 have barely budged. They represent less than 5 percent of total annual sales of children’s books, several publishers estimated, compared with more than 25 percent in some categories of adult books.

It makes sense. My kids are beyond the “learning how to read ” phase, and while I can say an iPad would have been a helpful learning tool, I can hardly see it taking place of a warm snuggle-under-the-covers reading session at bedtime with a favorite board book, picture book or even a chapter book. I don’t want to look at Eloise or Olivia from a 5 inch-by-8 inch screen. I want the real thing, in full-scale, staring back at my daughter and I.

If my kid were to drop a book in the bawth, I want to be OK with that—not screaming, “Holy crap! My Kindle!” If my kid were to throw up on Frog and Toad, I want to not mind replacing it with a fresh copy. Mostly, I just want to catch them with the flashlight under the covers—not that techno glow of a tablet. That’s just kind of sad, don’t you think?

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