Monday, November 21, 2011

What's good for the kid, is good for the parent.

"E-books For Parents; Paper For Their Kids." Bulletin, 11/21/11.

So this is interesting. Parents who own e-books are still buying book/books for their kids: "...they say they want their kids to be surrounded print books, to experience turning physical pages as they learn..."

"...cuddling up with..." a book.

"It's the intimacy, the intimacy of reading..."

"The shape and size of a book ar part of the reading experience."

"Size and shape 'become part of the emotional experience, the intellectual experience. There's a lot you can't standardize and stick into the electronic experience."

All of which is true.

But it's equally true for the parents.

Are they going to like the sterile world of e-books in the future? What part of their brain recognizes the value of book/books and yet discards it?

Parents are just bigger versions of their kid selves -- hopefully they haven't given up on the more important elements of reading, the elements that they recognize as crucial for their own progeny.

All those virtues listed above are still what I value in books.


RDC said...

I wouldn't read too much into it.

Probably more of a concern about their kids losing or breaking the e-readers, as well as the point that e-readers generally have an associated credit card. Which parents may not want to give their kids unfettered access to as far as their book purchases go. As such buying books one at a time, allows them to control the risk. So I would expect it is largely age group dependent.

I would expect that the older the "kid" is the more likely the parents are to go e-book. The younger the more likely for a physical book.

Duncan McGeary said...

You're probably right, but that's not the sentiments they express in the article.

The sentiments are right on. For both kids and parents.

The fact the parents disregard the more "human" aspects of reading which they want for their kids, is what I was addressing.

But....they'll buy their kids e-readers, I have no doubt.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Are they going to like the sterile world of e-books in the future?"

Oh god, not this again.

I find the experience of reading an e-book -- purely as a *reading" experience -- just as fulfilling and pleasurable as reading a "real" book. Intellectually and emotionally it's not "sterile" at all.

As a complete aesthetic experience, of course, the e-book doesn't offer as much. You miss the heft, the texture, the smell of a "real" book.

But as I've said before, it needn't be an either-or thing. The e-book has its place (replacing books that you would read once and then stick on the shelf) and the "real" book will continue to have its place (books that you want to keep for many years, re-read and pass on to your children).

H. Bruce Miller said...

"As such buying books one at a time, allows them to control the risk."

Also allows them to make sure the kids don't buy books that are inappropriate for their age.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Is reading an e-book as intellectually and emotionally gratifying as reading the same book in printed form? In my experience, yes.

Is the total aesthetic experience the same? No. The printed book offers sensations of texture, heft and smell that the e-book can't.

But as I've said before, it doesn't have to be an either-or thing. There's a place for both the e-book and the "book book." And always will be, I believe. Different products for different purposes.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Sorry for repeating myself -- I thought the first comment didn't go through. Feel free to delete it.

Duncan McGeary said...

Oh, well, you say it slightly different so I'll keep it.

Space is free.

RDC said...


I just took a look at the article.

E-books for parents; paper for their kids

A better title would have been paper for their toddlers. The article is basically referring to very young children. With such comments as

But they say they want their children to be surrounded by print books, to experience turning physical pages as they learn about shapes, colors and animals.

“It’s intimacy, the intimacy of reading and touching the world. It’s the wonderment of her reaching for a page with me,” said Leslie Van Every, 41, a loyal Kindle user in San Francisco whose husband reads on his iPhone. But for their 2½-year-old daughter, Georgia, dead-tree books, stacked and strewn around the house, are the lone option.

A study commissioned by HarperCollins in 2010 found that books bought for 3- to 7-year-olds were frequently discovered at a local bookstore — 38 percent of the time.

I certainly would agree that an ebook reader is not the device of choice for those that are too young to read or are at the A is for Apple stage.

Is your arguement for paper books going to be that infants have fun flipping pages and that is why e-books will not catch on.

Helen said...

Great article in the Bulletin today!

Duncan McGeary said...

It was O.K.?