Device Growth ‘Kindles’ Growth in Kids’ E-Reading

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

publishers kids launch e-reading children ebooksAs children and media researchers shift their sights from TV-centric studies to figuring out kids’ relationship with mobile and digital media, e-reading seems to be a primary focus for debate. Which is “better,” paper or ebooks? Do children learn to read differently from conventional versus enhanced ebooks? Of course, there’s always a certain amount of hand-wringing when disruptive new possibilities emerge.

But what do families think about e-reading, and how are they embracing it as part of their reading and book-buying habits? To answer these questions, PlayCollective and Digital Book World have conducted a series of surveys dating back to January 2013, exploring how children and parents e-read, both independently and together.

We’ve found that while device popularity–e-readers, tablets, smartphones, computers–shifts from year to year, but the overall take-up of digital books is huge and growing. 93% of kids 2–13 now e-read at least once a week.

Parents still prefer paper books when they read with their children by almost 2:1, but kids prefer the digital option by a narrower margin. Given that divide, it’s good that parents feel ebooks and print are equally beneficial when it comes to their children’s learning. Parents, too, see benefits for their kids in enhanced ebooks’ interactive options; 35% now say that such features are a selling-point for them in choosing a title, up from 27% just a year ago.

Parents appear more willing to spend on ebooks now as well, with growth each year in the amount per title they feel is appropriate. There is also a shift in parents’ choice of paid (by title or subscription) plans versus free or freemium options.

There’s a lot more information on the latest trends in the full report The ABCs of Kids and E-Reading: Volume 4–Devices, Content and Reading Habits of Children 2–3, available on January 13 from Digital Book World. In the meantime, additional insights are gathered here, and you can learn much more by joining me at the Publishers Launch Kids Conference, also on January 13, at Digital Book World 2015, where I’ll be presenting our latest research in this evolving field.

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