The Future of Children’s Books

The final panel at Children’s Publishing Goes Digital. Photo credit: Nicole Fonovich

With rising revenues and a greater adoption of e-reading by children and their families, 2012 may be remembered as the year when children’s publishing truly went digital.

The optimism was palpable yesterday at the Children’s Publishing Goes Digital event at Digital Book World, which, along with half-a-dozen pre-conference workshops, helped kick off Digital Book World week.

So, what is the future of children’s digital publishing? Platforms. According to Scholastic Media CEO Deborah Forte, the company’s Storia platform is beloved by children, parents and teachers. Pearson’s Poptropica is racking up the users. And Levar Burton’s RRKidz is adding video content with star power, just to name a few.

But platforms are just the start. There’s much more to dive into. See our coverage of the opening day of DBW2013 below.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

DBW13: Where Do Kids Find New Books? (DBW)
According to a recent survey, libraries are still the No. 1 place kids find new books, but Amazon is close behind and gaining. When it comes to where the most influential book recommendations, kids are relying on friends and family more than ever – and more than anything else, a reflection of the social era in which we live.

DBW13: How Children Find New Books as They Age (DBW)
As the children age, that is, not the books. At different ages, children find books in different ways. Two year olds don’t respond to the Amazon recommendation algorithm, for instance.

DBW2013: Kids Retain Strong Preference for Print (Pub Lunch)
Despite the rise of digital reading among kids, they still prefer print. Perhaps it’s all the other screen time they have that drives them to good, ol’ paper, ink and glue.

DBW2013: Selling Used Digital Content (DBW)
An upcoming court case will decide the fate of ReDigi, a start-up built around re-selling digital content. The fact is that there is a whole area of law around digital content waiting to be developed. When it is, will we see a secondary market for ebooks?

Ten Innovative Tips for Publishers (Pub Perspectives)
Everyone has an idea of what publishers should be doing these days. Author Guy Kawasaki has ten, including some stuff crazy enough that it just might work.

DBW13: Nook to Support EPUB3? (DBW)
An executive from Barnes & Noble seemed to indicate on stage at DBW that Nook would support EPUB3 functionality some time this year.

DBW13: Storia Expanding (DBW)
Scholastic’s Storia children’s ebook retail and e-reading platform will be available on phones and have about 50% more titles by the spring.

DBW13: You and Elmo, Together (DBW)
Sesame Workshop has signed a deal with Sourcebooks to become the first major children’s book publisher to partner with Sourcebooks’ innovative Put Me in the Story app. Soon, children will be able to read about themselves in the title Elmo Loves You. Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah says more such deals are on the way.

Rakuten Not in Love With Kobo? (The Digital Reader)
Despite the obvious synergies and what the entire publishing industry thought was going to happen, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is doing little to promote the devices or ebooks of its devices and ebook division Kobo.

Random House Children’s Reboot (DBW)
While the children’s publishing industry digital leadership was gathered under one roof in midtown Manhattan, Random House Children’s Books relaunched its website.

Penguin Hooks up With Small Demons (DBW)
Penguin is now the fifth major publisher to have its catalog of books indexed by the discoverability start-up Small Demons, which seeks to collect and connect all the people, places and things in books that you might care about.

More Tips for Publishing Technologists (Pub Perspectives)
This might seem rudimentary, but there is an art to setting up your work space if you’re going to work on digital publishing projects all day.

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