Daily Archives: July 21, 2010

Cheryl’s Fab Blog Part Two: Why Kid and Young Adult Bookstores Will Never Go 100% Digital

Let me preface this by saying that I have a nook, and I LOVE IT. I feel like I read even more than I used to, because it’s so convenient. There are thousands of books available for free, and others that go on sale periodically for less than five dollars. I can download books from my local library and read them on my nook for up to 14 days, then it automatically goes back.

I’m going to start with the young adult genre, because this is the most likely to go digital. Teens love technology. I bought my younger sister a nook, and she is madly in love with it, reading longer than she ever has before. So, what’s the problem? Why won’t teens go completely digital?

Book covers. I have to say, the young adult publishing industry is doing a phenomenal job with their covers. Every week, I see new ones that are even cooler than the ones the week before. They have finally figured out the benefit of a good cover, and they’re willing to spend money getting a good one. Look at recent bestsellers such as Hush, Hush, Fallen, and Incarceron. All have phenomenal covers, and I see teenagers picking up these titles every day because of it.

Now, does the nook show covers? Yes. It will show the cover in black and white on the full screen, and in color on the touch screen. But is it enough to draw someone into a book that they might not otherwise have picked it up? I don’t think so. Especially with a cover like Incarceron, which is iridescent, or Fallen, which is made of a material that feels almost like suede.

So moving on to the middle grade age. The covers are still a big deal for them, but not quite as much. They’re still at the age where they are required to read from particular genres, but get to choose the books themselves. Therefore, for many of them, they just need descriptions. Also, they have more series, as opposed to the trilogies that rule young adult. The series in middle grade can get up into the hundreds, like “The Boxcar Children.” So younger kids are just anxious for the next in the series, no matter what the cover is.

However, that’s not the biggest problem with middle grade. The biggest problem is that they’re still kids. They drop things. They spill things. They break things. No parent wants to give them a $200 device if they can help it, even if they did get the protection plan.

And for our grand finale…picture books. I don’t think anything will ever replace hardcover picture books. Yes, I have seen picture books on the nook. They’re cute, but they’re in black and white. And yes, I’ve seen them on the Ipad. It’s like looking at a computer screen. For me, that’s not conducive to a bedtime story. And bedtime stories are one pastime that I don’t think I’m ready to leave behind.

Let me say one more time that I love my ereader. It has completely replaced paperbacks for me, because let’s face it, I only buy paperbacks because they’re cheap. And if they’re even cheaper on the nook, then why wouldn’t I get them there? On the other hand, books that I want in hardcover I will still buy in hardcover (hello, Mockingjay!)


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