Friday, December 30, 2011

digital kids' books, cookbooks, etc.

Interesting article here.

DATE: 2011.12.24
Digital kids' books, cookbooks to get big push in '12 as colour e-readers
TORONTO -- It took just a little more than three years for Amazon's Kindle
e-reader to turn the book industry on its head. The ebook was a barely known
commodity when the Kindle was released in the winter of 2007, selling for an
eye-popping $400 _ without any books included. But by early 2010, ebooks
began outselling hardcover books on, and by the year's end, the
digital products were outpacing paperbacks, too.

The next step in the ebook's assault on the paper book business is expected
to start in earnest in 2012, as new devices like Amazon's Fire, Kobo's Vox,
and Barnes & Noble's Nook become more common and start driving the sales of
colour ebooks.

Like tablets, those e-readers have the ability to display full-colour
digital titles like children's books, comics and graphic novels, cookbooks,
and travel and reference titles.

Even the most avid library card-carrying paper book lovers are eager to
explore the possibilities of digital. ``I'm really excited about it,'' said
Cybele Young, who recently won the Governor General's Literary Award for
illustration in a children's book for ``Ten Birds,'' which is being turned
into an ebook by publisher Kids Can Press.

``I'm totally addicted to kids books and I would love to just have shelves
and shelves and shelves of them but I also love the practicality of being
able to purchase a book to be able to read on your iPad anywhere.

``I have a six-year-old son myself and he loves (reading digital books),
absolutely loves it.''
And those who make their livings selling ebooks are also thrilled about the
new potential presented by colour-capable screens.

``Up until now, the ebook market has largely been fiction _ literary
fiction, some young adult fiction, mystery, thrillers _ and there are dozens
of genres that are not represented,'' said Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis,
singling out kids' books in particular as an expected source of growth.

``Those really haven't been part of the story so far and they represent in
the physical book market easily half the business. So over time, I expect
that to translate to digital as well.''

A relatively new group called eBOUND Canada, funded by the Association of
Canadian Publishers, was founded to help independent publishers enter the
digital market. They, too, see huge potential in colour devices.

``We have some great cookbook publishers and I think they previously haven't
been afforded a good platform to work on,'' said Nic Boshart, manager of

``Kids' books I think are really going to take off and I think it's going to
benefit a lot of our children's book publishers.''

Among the Canadian children's book publishers that have already digitized
some of their titles is Kids Can Press.
``We were an early mover about six months ago with 'Franklin,' for us the
focus really is delivering our key brands on as many platforms as possible,
including tablets,'' said president Lisa Lyons.

``We think this Christmas is going to be the tipping point for tablets,
particularly as it relates to the ability to do colour (in ebooks), which is

But it'll be some time before the publisher starts turning all its titles
into ebooks.
``I think that's several years out yet, not every book necessarily lends
itself in the way it's laid out,'' Lyons said.

``I think we want to see the marketplace reaction, there's no question that
big brands are going to be appealing, so we've got 'Franklin' in market and
'Scaredy Squirrel.'''

She expects 2012 will usher in more interactive books that will respond to
on-screen taps and include sound, animation or video.

One photo book company, which turns digital pictures into glossy print
books, is also getting into ebooks. Blurb is now giving customers the option
of laying out their photos into an iPad-compatible ebook for just $2. Blurb
also allows users to sell their books to others online and is working with
Apple to get Blurb-made titles into the iBooks store.

``We feel there is an ability for anyone to get a book created. And that
might be an audience of one and that's OK,'' said Robin Goldberg, Blurb's
senior vice president for international markets.

``There's no more gatekeepers in the way of getting content out to the
market or your audience.''
While Young is excited to see ``Ten Birds'' on her iPad, she's unsure how
the electronic medium might affect storytelling.

``Creating a book like '10 Birds' is almost like a black-and-white
photography approach, it's very subtle, it's very quiet with layers of
depth. And I think if all of a sudden things are moving it takes away from
that experience,'' she said.

``You have to be very thoughtful and careful rather than just saying, 'Oh,
let's make it move because we can.''' She also worries that kids might
eventually come to demand some of the digital bells and whistles that paper
can't offer.

``There's a 'Peter Rabbit' ebook with a little bit of animation and
interaction with it and it's nice because if my son wants to read it on his
own he has the help of a narrator and I think that's really great,'' Young

``But I can see it in the future being an issue if they get so used to
having interactive elements and the line between a book and a game becomes
blurred. Then I think then he might complain about reading a paper book.''

Lyons doesn't believe ebooks will kill children's paper books anytime soon,
although they will be an important part of the business.

``If kids are reading, whether it's on a screen or a physical book, we think
that's a great thing.

Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books published in Canada and the USA, editor
of many others. Blog Website

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