The rise and rise of the e-book


Not long ago I wrote a blog about how Amazon’s Kindle, their e-book reader, had failed to provide parents with any realistic means to block access to pornographic web sites on the wider internet. Neither was there an easy way for parents to prevent their children from buying porn from the Amazon shop. A little while later I was happy to write that they had fixed that little problem.

I don’t know why exactly but those two blogs have turned out to be among the most popular I have ever published. All these months later they continue to get a substantial number of hits.

Then the other day I saw a piece in The Daily Telegraph about the growth in the sales of e-books for kids. It made me think maybe lots of parents are buying e-book readers for their children but they are  doing some homework first. So my earlier blogs are being picked up through their online searches. Bravo!

According to the Publishers Association, compared with 2010, in 2011 the sale of physical books for children fell by 7% overall while the sale of their digital equivalents rose by 380%.  In the first half of 2012 the sale of children’s e-books almost tripled. 2.6 million copies were sold as against only 1 million in the same period last year.

An Ipsos MORI poll for the Reading Agency showed nearly half of all parents thought “digital reading devices encouraged children to read more.” Let’s hope they are right.

All this is good news for literacy. In my previous blogs I expressed regret that I had not had the opportunity to compare a Kindle with any of the growing number of alternative e-book readers coming on to the market in terms of their parent-child friendliness or the appropriateness of some of their features. That remains the case I’m afraid. But someone very obviously needs to do it. And soon.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International, Technical Adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, which is administered by Save the Children Italy and an Advisory Council Member of Beyond Borders (Canada). Amongst other things John is or has been an Adviser to the United Nations, ITU, the European Union, the Council of Europe and European Union Agency for Network and Information Security and is a former Executive Board Member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John has advised many of the world's largest internet companies on online child safety. In June, 2012, John was appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This was renewed in 2018. More:
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