There were some interesting articles about ebooks this week, including a few new approaches I hadn’t come across before.
To begin with, there’s Digital Book World’s “When Growth In Children’s Ebooks Hits the Poverty Line”, which argues that children’s ebooks may be outstripped by ebooks for adults for some time to come, in part because so many children are from low-income families (44% of children in the US, according to the article. That’s a rather horrifying statistic.) Those children can encounter print books through libraries, schools, and programs that try to put books into children’s hands, but they’re unlikely to have access to digital children’s books, and thus will miss out on the “e-reading revolution.” Jeremy Greenfield, the author of the article, suggests that this should be a wakeup call for publishers, but offers no suggestions for what publishers should do about it. Still, the issue is important and needed to be raised. The digital divide is wide enough as it is, and getting kids excited about reading is really crucial to creating a society of adult readers. Perhaps it’s time that everyone — not just publishers — starts thinking about how to get e-readers into the hands of all children.
Time has a provocative online article entitled “Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read?” by Maia Szalavitz. The answer appears to be “yes,” according to the few studies that have been done on the subject. This could have significant implications for schools and universities and for the growing e-textbook industry.
Although it hardly breaks new ground, The Atlantic‘s recent article, “How Cheap Should Books Be?”, does a very good job of laying out the background of the Department of Justice antitrust suit against Apple and the Bix 6 publishers and the possible implications for consumers, publishers, and behemoth retailer-cum-publisher Amazon, if the DoJ wins. The article is written by associate editor Jordan Weissmann.