Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Where the Wild Things aren't

The other day the Lady Friend, who knows a thing or two about children's books, made an interesting point: E-books may be taking the adult publishing world by storm, but have made no inroads into children's books -- and are unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future. (Entirely text-based young adult novels are different, of course.)

The reason for this is obvious: E-book readers still display black text on a white background, no color, and even a $359 Kindle is way too small to display the oversized pages of a children's picture book. And can you imagine squinting at Maurice Sendak's vivid illustrations on a 3-inch-color-screen iPod Touch? Your kids would be taunted as "Four-Eyes" before they entered first grade.

I wouldn't look to tomorrow's upcoming announcement of the new, large-sized Kindle newspaper and magazine reader for a harbinger of how children will read in the near future. The super-Kindle very likely will continue to offer only black text on a white background.

And so for a while the printed, illustrated children's book will march on proudly. The current toddling generation will grow up knowing (or once having known) the joy of leafing through paper captured between covers, finding a new treasure on every page.

For that we can give thanks.


  1. Henry, I thought you were a fan of the e-book!

  2. Richard Scarry & Dr Seuss would be nothing with out the pictures!

  3. I *am* a fan of the e-book, but also happily read tree-books. E-books and tree-books are just different and quite complementary delivery devices.