I confess that, as someone who still uses a paper diary to record meetings and organise her life, I thought I would hate ebooks. After all, part of the pleasure of reading is the feel of a book, the smell of a book, the sheer ‘kick back and relax’ appeal of a book. But, it turns out I don’t hate ebooks at all. In fact, I’m madly and deeply in love with my Kindle, which enables me to carry a virtual library with me wherever I go, although I still devour piles and piles of pbooks, too.
But, somewhat controversially it seems, I am not a huge fan of children’s picture books taking ebook form — whether as enhanced apps or straight stories. Children are exposed to so much technology at such an early age these days. In my house, I feel like my husband and I are constantly trying to cut back on my daughter’s exposure to ‘screen time’, and I know we’re not alone in that. Numerous studies have shown that overexposure to electronic media at a young age does impact a child’s developing brain and can adversely affect concentration and attention span.
But beyond all that is the tactile pleasure I derive from reading with my daughter. At the end of her day, as she snuggles up next to me, and together we turn the pages of her current book, I feel like I’m connecting with her in the same way that my mother connected with me before. It’s a shared experience that transcends generations. It’s just not the same if those pages are being turned with the swipe of a finger.
Once kids hit their teens, my scruples seem to fade away. I hope that by then my own daughter will be a booklover through and through — indoctrinated with a love of words that will never fade. So if she chooses to read for pleasure on an iPad, Kindle or whatever other form of technology that will have arrived by then, that’s probably going to be fine with me. Just as long as she’s still reading! But if a dog-eared paperback is stuffed in her bag, I’ll be smiling …
Anouska Jones is our KBR Editor. Mum to a gorgeous little girl, she has nearly twenty years' experience in the book publishing industry. A publishing consultant and editor, Anouska is obsessed by all things to do with words, writing and books.