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First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts
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Children's Fiction > Are children actually reading ebooks?

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message 1: by Lari (new) - added it

Lari Don (laridon) | 5 comments I met a seven year old girl today, who had read (and enjoyed!) my first novel on her own Kindle e-reader. I wasn't sure whether to be delighted, or taken aback! Up til now, I've been quite happy that my publishers made my four kids' adventure novels available as ebooks, but I've also been a bit sceptical about whether children in the target age range (8-12 years) would be reading them. I know teachers, and other adults who enjoy kids' fantasy, who've read them as ebooks, but I wasn't sure if kids were reading them. However, today, I met a fan who had read my book not on paper, but on screen, and seemed to have exactly the same relationship with the characters and story as any other child in the room. But she was only seven years old. SEVEN years old! I think I now need to take this technology a bit more seriously! What has everyone else's experience been, as authors, teachers and parents? Are kids reading ebooks? Are we happy about that?


message 2: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Tisdale (suzantisdale) | 18 comments That is sweet!
My son is 14 and he does read ebooks--on my Kindle, lol. I think kids like the technology so if an e-reader can get more kids to read, then I say its a wonderful thing!

As with everything, I do think parents will need to be even more diligent in paying attention to what kids are reading on e-readers. Its the same as paying attention to what they're doing on-line.

Overall, I think its a great thing. ;o) I don't think I would want anyone younger than 18 to read my books. No, they're not x-rated (historical romance), I do believe they're quite clean by today's standards, lol. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned.

Keep up the great work Lari!


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 113 comments My daughter (12) reads e-books on her Android tablet. We'll probably get her a Kindle for her next birthday.

My son (8) would definitely break any e-reader but I'm sure he'll make the progression. He's currently ploughing through my wife's Terry Pratchett collection of paperbacks.


message 4: by C.S. (last edited Mar 01, 2012 04:26PM) (new)

C.S. Einfeld (cseinfeld) | 3 comments Yes! I'm certain they are. Neverdark was originally released as an ebook and currently that edition outsells the paperback on Amazon. Readers with an Amazon Prime membership can borrow one book per month, free, and so I think that option has helped to open up the Children's ebook market, as well.


message 5: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicasey) Yes, kids are reading on eReaders. My daughter is requesting one for her birthday (turning 12), partly because she loves to read and her co-loving book friends "all have one". Ha! That's a line I've never heard before.

I'm old-fashioned in the fact that she doesn't have a smart phone, laptop, or tablet of any kind. We restrict their internet access to where it can be monitored, but we are definitely the minority in that regard.

If she gets an eReader (extremely likely) she will probably get a Kindle Touch, but definitely not a Kindle Fire.


message 6: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) | 143 comments It would have to be older kids, considering that most children's publishers aren't going the ebook route yet.


message 7: by S.W. (new)

S.W. (swlothian) I have had the exact same question in my mind. My children's book is only currently an ebook but I have wondered what percentage of children would actually use a Kindle. I know my kids both have iPod Touches on which they can read Kindle books using the Kindle App. But they are still very paper book focussed given that the school library has paper books. I'm in the final stages of publishing to paperback as I think the reality is that most kids still use paper books. But, that said, kids are always keen to have the latest technology and they are more inclined than adults to give it a go. I'd expect that before long ebooks for kids will become the norm.


message 8: by Lari (new) - added it

Lari Don (laridon) | 5 comments I'm fascinated by everyone's comments, both parents and writers. I suspect that older children will take to ereaders first, the ones who are already showing their parents how to use their mobile phones properly, so I expect those of us who write for younger kids will be selling paper books for a while yet. However, that is only my gut feeling, and I was surprised by the 7 year old and her Kindle, so I've decided that during my next few school visits (and in the aftermath of World Book Day, I have a lot of school visits coming up) I will ask pupils about their experience of ereaders and their feelings about ebooks. I'll let you know how I get on!Lari Don


Lana Bradstream | 145 comments I'm still getting used to elementary students having cell phones!


message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 113 comments When my kids have their own kids, I'll look back on this discussion and chuckle. That generation be asking what it was like when kids used to read paper books.

The technology is already seriously mainstream, once e-readers get much cheaper and toy manufacturers start making properly kidproof ones I think it be a surprisingly short time before e-ink almost completely replaces paper for kids.


message 11: by Steph (last edited Mar 06, 2012 08:35AM) (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 182 comments Yesterday on the train to work (London), I overheard an interesting discussion on ebooks between a teacher and the group of children with her (all of whom were in their low teens). Two things stuck in my mind:
(a) four of the eight children owned or had access to a ebook reader;
(b) seven of the eight chose books on the basis of friends' recommendations (the eighth said she had chosen books purely on the basis of the cover!).

The latter may be more relevant when it comes to ebooks, as it's not so easy to lend a friend an ebook (never mind do a swap), plus buying them entails access to online-friendly money (daddy's credit card?), rather than spending pocket money in a local bookshop. Unless DRM disappears from ebooks like it has from music downloads, ebook lending libraries may well prove to be where the next generation of children's authors will be discovered...


message 12: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 88 comments I borrow alot of children audiobooks from the library and have noticed that the number of ebooks available for lending has dramatically increased. My child (9) hasn't shown an interest in ebooks but loves audiobooks and hardcover books.


message 13: by Lari (last edited Mar 08, 2012 12:25PM) (new) - added it

Lari Don (laridon) | 5 comments I’ve been chatting to the kids I meet in libraries and schools when I do author visits / writing workshops, asking them about ebooks, ereaders and their experiences and opinions. These are not scientific or statistically sound findings – just a few anecdotal notes. None of the kids I spoke to over the last 10 days were as young as the 7 year old First Aid for Fairies fan who prompted this discussion – they ranged from 9–12 years old.
When I asked if anyone had an ereader, even in fairly economically deprived areas, at least a couple of kids in any class of 25-30 put their hands up. When asked if anyone else would like one if they had the choice, NOT EVERYONE put their hand up – some saying unprompted that they would stick to paper books.
When I asked kids whether they liked reading on their ereaders, most of them said they did, but when I asked which they preferred and why:
One boy said he preferred ebooks because they were cheaper;
Another boy said he preferred ebooks because they arrived instantly, whereas you have to wait for books in the post (we were sitting in a library at the time – surrounded by FREE AND INSTANTLY AVAILABLE books!);
One girl said she liked reading ebooks, but preferred “proper books” – her words not mine – because she likes the cover, and being able to look at the blurb, and flick through the real pages easily;
Another girl liked paper books better because she felt they would last forever whereas ereaders might break;
And one girl said that she liked both, and once she was involved in the story, she didn’t even really notice what she was reading it on (which is probably the most important thing!)
And that’s it (so far). Kids seem to be open to the new technology, but not rejecting the old books either. And it might even be possible to say they mostly care about the story, not the medium. So probably we should too!
Lari Don


message 14: by Colby (new)

Colby (colbz) I'm not sure about kids, but I've basically put my kindle out of comission for traditionally published books. I love paper books too much to add to the downfall of them...although I really doubt they'll be entirely gone in my lifetime...at least I hope not!


message 15: by Zee (new)

Zee Monodee (zee_monodee) | 154 comments My son is 9 and I download ebooks for him in Epub format to read on his Blackberry (mine before I upgraded; he got the 'reject').

He likes the ebooks better, because of the price I can get him lots of variety, and also because he's always glued to the phone in his free time and I allow him to use the phone if it's for reading.


message 16: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Palmer | 17 comments I'm very relieved to read these posts! Was starting to wonder just how many kids in my target age group could download my books. Thanks :)


message 17: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) I don't have children myself, but of my friends with kids under 10, I don't know any of the children who have their own ereader, but I do know plenty of parents who read bedtime stories from the Kindle.


message 18: by Lanie (new)

Lanie Malone | 9 comments I was talking with my 11 yr old today about adding a page on my blog where she can review the books she reads.

Ironically, she has a NOOK and my book is only available through Amazon. But she can't read what mommy writes yet anyway. :) Not for a long, long, long, looooong time.


message 19: by Lyssa (new)

Lyssa | 1 comments Both my kids, 4yrs and 6yrs old, have read books on my kindle. I like it because I can make the words as big as I need to so my youngest can easily read it.


message 20: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Stiles (skstiles612) | 28 comments I teach middle school and the first question students ask after walking in and seeing my large classroom library is, "Are we allowed to read on our Kindle, Nook, iPad, phones? Yes, they read on it. The reading portion of our state test was done on computers. We worried about the students having to read on computers. 90% said it was the easiest test they had taken. They have grown up reading on computers and reading devices. My grandchildren have reading devices.


Moon Shine Art Spot ~ Lisa | 47 comments YES, my 7 year old son reads every ebook I can get ahold of for him. His 8 year old cousin saved her own money to buy herself some type of table to read ebooks on. My son loves them as much as I do.


Moon Shine Art Spot ~ Lisa | 47 comments On a class trip I went with my son & the teacher asked me if the kids who were finished at a particular table could sit with me. There were about 10 of them & I had no idea how to settle them down... I pulled out my ipad2 & opened an ebook ... they were as glued to it as my son always is!!! They apparently love them!


Moon Shine Art Spot ~ Lisa | 47 comments On a class trip I went with my son & the teacher asked me if the kids who were finished at a particular table could sit with me. There were about 10 of them & I had no idea how to settle them down... I pulled out my ipad2 & opened an ebook ... they were as glued to it as my son always is!!! They apparently love them!


message 24: by Chris (new)

Chris Almeida (chrisalmeida) | 6 comments My children have used Kindles for a little while. They are 6 and 9. Before using kindles they used the computer to read ebooks.
They even search Amazon for reviews and find books appropriate for their reading level and age on their own. So it doesn't surprise me that your reader was 7 and had a kindle. It's the way the world is turning now. Children have access to technology at a very young age. It's natural they turn to the devices they see their parents using.
My daughter calls whispernet, "Magic". That's because she can just point to a book and a few seconds later she can read it. :)


Moon Shine Art Spot ~ Lisa | 47 comments My 1st grader has several computers in their classrooms & have a computer class a day or so a week. The schools are really teaching them about technology & I think the kids who are not reading ebooks, it is just most likely because their parents may not care for it.. it is not that they are not capable or educated enough. My 7 year old son will tell me to "google" particular web sites they allow them to play learning games on at school & all year they read real books, but were tested on each book via the computer. I think he knows as much about computers, iphones, ipads, etc. as his 14 year old bother. Our school is really good at getting the young children knowledge about what is going on right now... I think it is awesome. I love real books & it is actually hurting me that independent authors also think they are qualified to illustrate & design their cover, but I do very much respect them for going for it on the writing part.


message 26: by Judy B. (new)

Judy B. Burford | 1 comments My 14 yr. old grandson is reading ebooks.


message 27: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Jasper (elizabethjasper) | 20 comments Although my girls read a lot when they were younger, they have such busy lives now they don't find much time for reading for pleasure. None of them is interested in reading from a Kindle - they seem to prefer paperbacks for now and swop with friends quite a lot, but my grandson who is 6 is happy to have a go with simple stories and likes that I can make the text bigger or smaller by just touching a button.

I've written one story for older children - perhaps it's time I wrote one for him and his friends who like gadgets. Like MP3 players, e-readers will soon be child-proof.


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Neverdark (other topics)

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Lari Don (other topics)