E-Readers and Young Readers

At the conference last week, my friend Cheryl brought her Nook–the Barnes and Noble e-reader. After looking at it, I have to admit, I wanted one. How nice would it be to have a bunch of books right there whenever I wanted? And it can connect to WiFi, so I could read blogs if I was in a WiFi zone. (I didn’t ask her how the typing thing worked–is it difficult? Cheryl, if you’re reading this, I’d love a comment on that.)

She even solved the problem of book signings. She bought a couple backs for the Nook–you can buy all different colors–and got all the authors to sign it. Apparently, it’s the new in-thing to do with e-readers.

I brought up, though, how I love having shelves of books. And we decided that if you really love a book, you may not have a problem buying the hard copy too. Which for me is true. If I love a book, I want it on my shelf. But if I want to be able to take it around with me on an e-reader, I think I’d be okay having both. Supporting my favorite authors, ya know?

And then today I read an article on From the Mixed Up Files…of MG Authors about how e-readers may be the key to get reluctant readers to read. I totally recommend reading the article, because it opened up a new perspective for me.

I am very attached to physical books. I love they way they feel, smell. I love physically turning the pages. And I love having something to look at on my shelves. But someone at the conference last week said something that struck me (I think it was Alane Ferguson): within a few years, book printing will be cut down by half. (Or something like that.)

E-readers are the future, whether we old time readers like it or not. The fact is that the upcoming generation of readers are very technologically savvy. If they can have something electronic for their books, they’ll go with it. I’m nostalgic about physical books because that’s what I grew up reading. But as the Mixed Up Files article says: “And sure–they aren’t ‘traditional’ books. But if they engage kids in the written word, does it really matter?”

I’m of the opinion that physical books won’t completely go out–at least not in my lifetime. But more and more I’m seeing how e-readers may not be so bad.

What do you think? Do you think reluctant readers would be more inclined to read if they could do it on a gadget? And would you be willing to support your favorite authors by buying both a hard copy and a e-book version?

About Karen Krueger

I write for teens when I'm not chasing after two cute kids. I love to sing and eat cereal (though not at the same time), and I most certainly am not a vampire because I'm addicted to sunshine.
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4 Responses to E-Readers and Young Readers

  1. for me, nothing replaces the actual feel of the book in my hands, but I’ve grown up that way. If kids will only be interested in reading by electronic gadgets, they should enjoy it. For me, it will always be the bookstore.

    I’m curious, what happens if the Nook or Kindle is damaged. Are all your books lost?

    • That’s a great question. I know you can purchase insurance or something so you can get it replaced if it’s damaged. I would think that your books are downloaded to some sort of account so you wouldn’t lose your books. But I’m not sure. Definitely something to ask before buying one.

  2. PragmaticMom says:

    I agree that eBooks are the future, but I am also fond of tradition books. The beauty of eBooks, I feel, is that they will be different from traditional books by adding interactivity, particularly for younger readers. I’ve reviewed great Dr. Seuss books that are iPhone/iPad apps by Ocean House Media that have actually improved upon the experience of reading a book. The interactivity makes the book more game-like plus adds word recognition as an added literacy bonus.

    I am a big fan of both; the nice thing is that we will now have choices.

    Pragmatic Mom
    Type A Parenting for the Modern World

    I blog on children’s lit, education and parenting

    • That’s something I hadn’t thought about either–thanks. Definitely, interactive e-books are great for young readers. I agree with you–the choice is great. Thanks for commenting!

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