E-readers for kids

I love books, our kids love books, and we have a house full of books.
The girls have bookcases full, specially made bed pockets full, and still more books are overflowing into bags!
The books they have are read, re-read, sorted, and very well loved.
I remember when I was a kid, my brother and I would, every now and again, pile all our books up in a big heap on the floor and take turns picking books - so that we had a different selection of books to read in our room.

Some of my favourite books were kept for years by my parents in their loft in England and then brought out in their suitcases to Australia where we now live - for our kids - their grandchildren.

Seeing and reading these books from my childhood again (some of which have come from Scotland from Euan's childhood too) has been a wonderful trip down memory lane for both of us.  It's quite sad for us in way that our girls are now reading some of these books on their own - so we're missing out on the stories again!  - Although we still continue to read books to them at night before bed, and I'm sure we will for some time!

I have recently been thinking about e-books and e-book readers, and how this will change (if at all) reading for children.

We do not have an e-reader ourselves.  I was brought up with the philosophy and the attitude that you don't generally buy things you don't need. (Of course I do buy non-necessities but always find myself considering them lots before purchasing).
  Since we have so many books, are always getting more from various book sales, school fetes and of course the library; what need would we have for an e-reader?

What first made me think of it, was seeing how daunting it is for a new reader to see a big thick book that they would like to read, but the sheer size of the book puts them off.  If they were reading books on an e-reader, then would they be aware of the size of the book when they started to read it?  Would it make kids have more confidence in reading bigger and bigger books because they would all look physically the same size? - the size of the e-reader!

Our eldest daughter is currently reading one of the Harry Potter books, and each night she comes out to tell us in amazement how many pages she's read.  I guess this would be the same on an e-reader, which I presume still has page numbers showing.

Is there some way you can tell on an e-reader how far you are through a book?  It is satisfying to see where your bookmark is in a large book as you read - you can watch your progress through the story, and know when you're nearing the end.  Do you get this same sense of achievement, anticipation and excitement- of your progress through the book- when reading an e-reader?

Not having an e-reader myself, I had a look to see what you can get.  I was amazed to see how you can get books for young kids on e-readers.  Full pictures books - with interactive activities, and pictures that move - and the e-readers can even read the story out loud for the kid. 

The idea of reducing the need for all that storage space needed for books in a small house is appealing.  As is the argument for travelling abroad and being able to take endless books for the kids with you.

So, am I old-fashioned in liking actual books made of paper?  I like seeing shelves full of books - and as I mentioned earlier, ones that have been passed down through families - still with inscriptions on some of them of who gifted that particular book - or simply who that book belonged to. You wouldn't have this on an e-reader.  But then neither would they then deteriorate over time, and the pages start to loosen or fall out.

On the other hand, nothing seems to be made to last these days.  Most electronic equipment needs to be replaced every few years, and becomes outdated too.  I assume any books you have on your e-book can be saved and transferred to a new e-reader if necessary.

Then there is the environmental issue - of printing fewer books on paper - saving our dwindling rainforests.

My father loves reading too, and had not considered an e-reader at all until he won one.  He has now tested it out and can see the benefits in it;  from being able to download countless classic books for free, to being able to bring several books out to read when he comes to visit us from England (our choice of books doesn't always appeal to him!).

Do you have an e-reader?  If you do, do you use it a lot?  Do your kids use it? 
I would love you hear from those who use them as to what they are really like, but also everyone's opinion on e-readers vs books.


  1. I'll download a book on my iphone occasionally, for convenience, but I don't think I could live without actual, tangible books. For once thing, old book smell? Not gonna happen on any kind of e-reader!

  2. Wow your family really is a bunch of bookworms :)! Cute post. Found you at the Build My Blog blog hop and am glad I did, am a happy new follower :)


  3. I DO have an e-reader and I love it! The absolute best part is I can sew, crochet, make jewelry while my e-book keeps reading away. The voice is a bit electronic and I thought that would be horrible but I have come to enjoy it.

    I also really, really love taking it on vacation, or just about anywhere I may be waiting for a bit. It fits easily into my purse so I'm always ready. I also like that I can adjust the size of the print.

    Most of the books I have downloaded are free because they are classics, or free because they are promotionals. I even have a couple translations of the Bible on there. I teach Sunday School and the kids sometimes request I bring it to read to them.

    Your books are saved with e-readers. I go through Amazon and I can read a book and then put it back in the archives (I think of them as our bookcases) and my husband can later download it to his Kindle to read, without additional charges.

    On my Kindle, I can indeed tell how far along I am in the book. It shows by percentage. When I hit 90% I know it is winding down.

    I also think about the authors. This probably isn't going to make me popular but here's another thought I had. You know how we try to teach kids that it is wrong to burn copies of CD's as it cheats the musicians? Well, I wonder about authors. When I read a paperback and then pass it on to one friend after another, is that cheating the author? Hmmm... it's not like copying but it does present others from buying a copy.

    Having said all that, I also still love holding a book in my hands. Any particularly special book I'd prefer the old fashioned way, to keep for generations. The way technology changes, I'd not count on passing on Kindle books. And paper books do look nice on the shelf! There are limits on how many bookshelves you might have, though.

    I guess I just think it doesn't have to be all one way or the other. I have bookcases with books AND I have a Kindle. It works for me.

  4. We do have tons of books, but we have recently also gotten our grandpa's ereader on loan to us and now I am planning on getting one or maybe two for our house and here is why.

    #1 I'm unorganized. I can never find the books I'm looking for when I'm looking for them. My son wanted to read City of Ember the other day, he's had it recommended to him by a friend, which I KNOW we have, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I can however almost always find my phone, laptop, and ipod. I think we could safely add an ereader or two to the list and I could still keep track of things. I cannot, however, keep track of the hundreds, possibly thousands of books that we have in our house.

    #2 Speaking of keeping track of books, we also lose library books. So then we usually end up owing the library tons of money in fines and lost book fees. It's almost cheaper for us to buy books than to get them from the library, whether digitally or hard copy, and certainly less stressful.

    #3 And this is the most important reason, if my kids are in the mood to read a particular book, BAM, I can have it on the ereader in minutes or seconds ready to go. They don't have to wait for me to have time to drive them to the bookstore or library (we don't have any in biking distance) by which time interest has sometimes waned. Since we've started using an ereader, they have been reading a lot more because they can get started right away.


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