Phil Earle has just been appointed the new online Writer in Residence for children’s reading charity, BookTrust. He takes over from Sita Brahmachari, and is the 13th BookTrust writer is residence, hope he’s not too superstitious!
Phil said: “Growing up as a non-reader, I had no idea about the power of stories: of the places they can take you or the people you can meet as a result. I really want to show children that the right book for them is out there.”
In England, reading scores rank among the lowest in the Western world – 22nd out of 24 countries.
It’s time to take a hard look at how we’re teaching reading. Methods matter. So do the findings of literacy research. We have almost a quarter century of studies that document how literacy blooms wherever students have access to books they want to read, permission to choose their own, and time to get lost in them.
Enticing collections of literature—interesting books written at levels they can decode with accuracy and comprehend with ease—are key to children becoming skilled, thoughtful, avid readers.
Michael Kozlowski, who has been writing about e-books for quite some time, now considers the format doomed:
Major publishers have gained the ability to dictate their own prices on e-books and this has dramatically increased the cost to the customer. In many cases the hardcover is actually cheaper than the digital version and this is primarily due to predatory pricing.
Publishers have been making moves to capitalize on the convenience and instant delivery of e-Books by making them more expensive than their printed counterparts. I have talked to many high ranking executives off the record and they have told me that they foresee the destruction of the e-book market and are anticipating higher profits on print down the road.
There are many companies that are heavily involved in the e-book sector that have went out of business over the course of the last year. Sony killed off their consumer e-reader division and abandoned the Reader Store in every country, but Japan. Diesel eBooks, Oyster, Entitle, Txtr, Blinkbox Books and others have all closed up shop because e-books are no longer profitable.
The Kindle “has disappeared to all intents and purposes”, said James Daunt the head of Britain’s biggest book chain Waterstones. He also reported that print book sales lifted by 5% in December 2014 and that they plan on opening at least a dozen stores in 2015 . Foyles, the London chain of bookstores, said sales of physical books had risen 11% last Christmas. Across the pond, Australian bookseller Jon Page of Page and Pages said “Sales were up 3% last year, and will increase by 6% in 2015, which is fantastic because for the last three years we’d actually seen a decline.”
In a few short years most digital bookstores will be out of business and Amazon and Kobo will likely be the only players left. The only digital bookstores that will survive will be companies offering both hardware/software solutions and everyone else will be gone. The destruction of the digital book market has already been set in motion and there is nothing that can prevent the format from being completely annihilated.
from The Bookseller’s report about this:
Annette Karmiloff-Smith, who is professorial research fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck University, told the Sunday Times that parents should give their children tablets as soon as they are born. “They learn so fast on tablets… It is shocking how fast they learn, even faster than adults to do things like scroll up and down text,” she said.
“Books are static,” Karmiloff-Smith continued. “When you observe babies with books, all they are interested in is the sound of the pages turning. Their visual system at that age is attracted by movement. That is why tablets, which have moving pictures and sounds, are very good.”
The Birkbeck team carried out an initial study of 36 babies – half aged six months and the rest 10 months – and found they recognised the number three more quickly when it was presented with sounds and lights on an iPad.
They are now undertaking a larger project with hundreds of babies and toddlers and Karmiloff-Smith believes babies who use iPads will go on to have better motor control and visual attention. “Everything we know about child development tells us this will be the case. You see an adult trying to learn on a tablet and it’s hopeless. You see a 12-month-old learning on a tablet and it is so quick.”
She criticised Baroness Greenfield, who has said that over-exposure to screens damages children’s brain development.
“You cannot ignore the digital world we are living in,” she said. “Scientists tend to be very emotional about this issue but we should follow the science, not the emotion.”
The price of books rose by 12.8 per cent in the three months to the end of September and an average of 7.4 per cent over the whole of 2014, as tracked by the Office for National Statistics. That is the highest rise since ONS records began in 1997.
The figures, which include hardbacks, paperbacks and ebooks across a range of outlets online and on the high street, reflect a new attitude among some book buyers, believes James Daunt, managing director at 276-store chain Waterstones.
‘The ebooks market was embraced very strongly at first, but it now looks like most ebook buyers are also buying physical books,’ he said.
‘The value of having a book sat on your desk, that you can pick up or lend to someone, has come back. It would be nice to say it was about consumers supporting local bookshops, but I’m not sure that is the case.
‘But as a company – and we are a large part of the high street market now – we are getting much better at selling hardbacks and we’re selling more, which hasn’t been the case for a long time.
‘We’re also seeing strong growth in children’s book sales. There was an expectation that children from the ages of nine to 12 would increasingly want to read on digital readers, but that doesn’t seem to have happened,’ said Daunt.
Came upon this piece via Twitter at the weekend. How interesting!
I think there is still a fear of digital in publishing — not of the ebook “revolution” or some mass-destruction mass-disruption drama, but of the actual process of code and digital development: a general “I can’t do that” or “it’s too hard” or “it’s not really necessary”.
Coding isn’t easy, but it’s not hard either. You just need to give yourself some time to try it. Last year, I built 11 web apps in 10 days, during two week-long coding courses at Steer. It felt like magic, but it really wasn’t. It showed me conclusively that anyone can learn to code.
Publishing’s competitors — not to mention our young readers — are mastering it, so we need to master it, too. Jeff Bezos, founder and c.e.o. of Amazon, can code. How long will it take for a big publisher to have a c.e.o. who understands code?
very much hope there will be another series of the New Zealand books show