The New York Times reported on November 21, 2011, that parents who use E-Books all the time have a very odd double standard - they want their children to read 'real' books, not e-books. They laud the smell, the reality of turning a page, the intimacy of holding and sharing a book when it comes to what their children read. They had that growing up, and now they want it for their children.
Well, this is good news of course. Although the reporter uses the term 'dead tree' books at least twice (and I wonder what he calls furniture made of wood - 'dead tree' tables and chairs?), the journalist treats these inconsistent parents gently. According to the article, publishers say that children's books are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to E-book purchases. These publishers report converting more picture books, even though it takes longer, is harder, and is more expensive. But when the parents laugh at their own inconsistency on what they read and what they want their children to read, the reporter laughs along with them. He even reports what one parent has to say about an E-book at bedtime - it becomes less about reading together and more about the device. If a child can play a game on the same device they can read a book on, well, it seems that they will probably choose to play the game. So these parents prefer books to technological devices for their children.
This raises some interesting questions. What do these parents read on the Kindles and I-Pods? Newspapers and magazines? Work related material and books? Probably some fiction? And where do they use these devices? Does it work under the covers as well, before you go to sleep? Is it as good as a book when cuddled up under an afghan in a chair with a cup of hot chocolate on a cold snowy day? Or is it a convenient device for reading in the car or on the subway or at lunch time during a work day? Do they get caught up with a game instead of a book on the I-Pod themselves?
It is still less expensive to purchase an E-book than it is a regular printed volume, although from the sound of what the publishers had to say about picture books, those won't necessarily be cheap, and the price of simple text E-books has already risen. But if the Kindle dies, what happens to all those downloaded books? At the very least, it means purchasing another reading device instead of going to your bookshelf.
E-books are not a bad invention. They can be extremely convenient, they are easy to take along on a plane or wherever else you go, and for people who read a lot, that counts for something. They are the new hot thing that ties 'books' together with technology, and so they are fun and popular and very, very up-to-date. In a world where the newest hot thing is blazoned everywhere, from your latest tech device to TVs to billboards, it's not just convenient and cheaper to own an E-book reader, it's cool. Who wants to be left behind on the latest craze?
But obviously they don't fulfill all needs. Parents who insist on books for their children are saying, in essence, "My children won't learn to read as well with an E-reader. They won't learn to love a book, they won't learn to focus on the printed page, enjoy the illustrations as much and get lost in a story on an E-reader. I want real books for my children."
Adults who love to read have those needs, too. E-books will not vanish, although the devices will (and already have) change. But the niche they fill will not eliminate the desire and the pleasure to be had from printed, bound books. There is both the need and the room for both in this world.
- The library has a new AWE Literacy Station geared for children aged 2 to 8 years old. (See post.)
- Book signing for author of "The Adventures of Stinkerpup" Isis Grayling on Saturday, June 3, from 2 - 4 p.m.
- Summer Story Hour "Make A Better World" is coming! Beginning Wednesday, June 14th, this seven week program will continue every Wednesday from 10 - 11 a.m. through July 26th. (See post.)
- The Arthur Johnson Memorial Library Board will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the library.
- Are you interested in joining a new Writer's Group? Meetings held on Fridays, at 10:00 a.m. This is for any writer who wishes to meet with other writers. Beginners, experienced, published, unpublished, writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, bloggers - all are welcome.
- Preschool Story Hour is conducted every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. We read books to the children and there is a project every week. It's never too soon to introduce your children to the library!
- Schedule a meeting at the library. Call 445-9711 to get on the calendar in advance. The library stays open until 6:00 P.M., Monday - Saturday, except for Thursday, when it stays open until 9:00 P.M.