This fast-paced media environment we are experiencing today is continuously changing and has everyone confused. Parents too, are having a hard time catching-up on evolving trends. Like everyone else, they are trying to figure it all out, while their children seem to adapt and grasp onto technology without even a glimmer of thought. Look around you—in airport terminals, at outdoor cafes, and at the nearest Starbucks, it’s not uncommon to see a child, sometimes as young as two years old, sitting quietly and comfortably, glaring through the glossy screen of an iPad. One thing is for certain; these children are engaged and consumed by the technology they are accessing from the palm of their hands.
Today, there are an abundance of apps that can be accessed through general purpose tablets like the iPad. With only a touch of a finger, and a few moments of time, you can browse through books, games and educational apps for children from the iTunes App Store, for example, on your device. With so many options in front of you, it’s important to understand the landscape of where book media is today and where it is going, especially in the education and entertainment arenas. Picture books, for instance, on technology devices have turned into interactive, engaging “experiences,” complete with digital animation, narration and music. While we all hope that conventional books in the library will never really be replaced, it’s true that in just a few short years, book apps and eBooks have already changed the publishing world and redefined how books come to market. In fact, some book apps are starting to look something more like a Disney/Pixar movie than an actual picture book, and the book market will only get better from here.
Also, it’s important to understand that there are significant costs that go into the production of a single book app and this is why the good ones can’t be purchased for the price of a song. Still at $1.99-$7.99 or higher, the cost of a book app may be a much better value when compared to printed and bound books stocked at brick and mortar retailers like Barnes and Noble, where you can expect to pay at least twice the price of a book app or eBook. It’s these very same electronic books that can be found at other retailers, like Amazon, that are partially responsible for those big retailer’s declining sales.
It’s true that just a few short years ago; kids were snuggling up next to their parents to have a book read to them when their parents could take the time to sit down with them. Today’s kids are getting their books on demand and being read to by professional narrators, when mom’s lap isn’t available, and they are doing this right from the comfort of their own electronic devices. For parents, the reality is you don’t need to draw a line in the sand, and purchase your child’s books one way or the other. What’s most important is that your child is reading. Books of any kind are a good way for kids to start thinking and speaking early, but I for one, am looking forward to the positive influence technology can bring to those young minds.
Tonia Allen Gould is the producer and author of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, an electronically published book app, available in the App Store on iTunes, and is also available by audio on CD Baby and through other media outlets. Published by Skies America, Gould creatively directed and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight-years-old. The app was illustrated by Marc Ceccarelli, a SpongeBob SquarePants storyboard director. It was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and radio personality, Mr. Steve McCoy. The original musical score was produced by country artist, Robby Armstrong.