Does the future of print books lie with children?

As part of the debate surrounding print books vs. eBooks, new figures from Nielson have suggested that fiction eBooks will be set to overtake print books in 2014.

After the success of the Kindle since its first launch in 2007, followed by the phenomenon of shame-free public-transport reading of Fifty Shades of Grey, you might wonder why this hasn’t already happened. Nielson blames the fall in sales of children’s eBooks – despite earlier predictions, it seems children aren’t embracing the eBook as much as expected.

So what does a print book for kids provide that a digital book can’t? Older children might like to be glued to a screen, but what about the youngest readers? Our earliest experiences of books are all about its physical appeal – pictures, pop-ups, sticker-books and colouring-in. Nostalgic parents wanting to provide the same experience for their own children might give print books the edge.

Personally, I can’t imagine a digital version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar ever having the same impact. Many as the advantages of eBooks are, they’ll have a hard time matching the simple joy of pop-ups and lift-the-flaps. Plus, it also eliminates the risk of an expensive piece of technology being dropped in the bath.

Do you know children who prefer eBooks to print books or vice versa?

Sarah Johnson, currently doing work experience at A&B

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