Ebook Authors: The Kids Are Coming

One of the great opportunities ahead for ebook authors is the wave of new readers entering the digital book world. These gadget centric-readers are kids and young adults. You know the ones that don’t shy away from a computer screen or the digital world. With their cell phone or ipad in hand, they are going to drive the ebook industry to new heights in the near future.

This wave of new readers is going to create a new wave of authors. These writers are going to write directly to the ebook platform, bypassing the current paper to digital conversion process. This new author will take advantage of the ebook software; adding links, sound, video and multimedia.

This young group of readers will be gamers, Internet surfers and two-thumb typist. They are ready for the ebook experience and the ebook author must deliver.

So what is going to happen?

New devices

New devices targeting young kids are starting to appear. Hard plastic, low cost e-readers will start to appear in toy departments with packaged ebooks. They may not have a wireless connection or many keys and you may have to update the content via a USB connection (may assist in parent control) but the inconvenience will be worth the trouble.

New software

New software with more powerful features will be developed. This software will drive the acceptance of ebooks. It will be software that is more than just a text display of an ebook. It will be software that lets the reader interact with the content.

You are starting to see laptop software that makes studying easier and more productive. For example, one of the new tools released recently is NookStudy from Barnes and Noble. This free software download shows great potential. NookStudy is available for your PC or Mac.

Text to speech is a great tool to help kids learn while reading ebooks. We may even want to add children’s voices to the voice characters. Kids will probably accept other kids reading to them rather than a strange adult voice.

New ebooks

Recently I have read about the problem publishers are having converting kids two page layout books. They are using the old school conversion process. Authors and publishers need to think outside the box. Kid’s flipbooks seem to fall into that same category.

One thing we do know is kids have shorter attention spans than the adult novel reader. They need to see ideas and absorb them quickly. The current children authors have the knowledge and skills to pull this off. They just need to learn the new technology and charge forward.

Comics are another great ebook opportunity in the kid’s market. With color and sound they can be a great educational and entertainment media.

Barnes and Noble has a great website for kid’s book that takes advantage of the Color Nook. It’s called NookKids. If you are looking at this market, this is a great place to start your research.


Education will be transformed into a digital world. Along with a new generation of readers, a new generation of ebook authors will appear. Authors who can see the youth market needs and fill that need. I recently blogged about this opportunity, e-Textbooks: How do they stack up against traditional textbooks?

E-textbooks are a great opportunity to improve the quality of education, especially at the lower levels of education.

Ebook Author’s challenge

The children ebook author will write in small screen snapshots They will render their ebooks with colored pictures and enhanced features. The young readers are going to be looking for links like they encounter when they are surfing the net so they need to be included in the content.

One opportunity may be to create a series of short reads that the reader will be coming back for more. Although several of the experiments of serial writing in the adult category have mixed reviews, a well done kid’s series could be a hit with automatic downloads. Who knows, you could have your own Dr. Seuss series going on some day.

One thing for sure, the new ebook author must study the new technology and take advantage of it.

My Crystal Ball

There will always be novels but my crystal ball says that non-fiction will change. Ebooks will not just be a copy of a paper version but an interactive media.

Many ebooks will be written directly to the ebook platform with no paper version.

All players will need to get on board: authors – publishers – bookstores – libraries and education/teachers.

Remember. The kids are coming. You know the gadget-centric generation that will be right at home with e-readers or tablets. These devices will fall right in with their social networking and their cell phones. Just walk through a mall and watch the younger generation. They are all doing something with a digital device. The ebook author must take advantage of this opportunity.

What do you think? How can ebook authors take advantage of this opportunity? Have I left out anything in the kid’s market?

View my website: HBSystems Publications

Or EMAIL at: jrm@hbspub.com

Or goto my blog: The eBook Author’s Corner

  • Hi. Really interesting article. Couldn’t agree more – the Digital Natives are going to expect interactive, social, and more immersive experiences from their literature. They have of everything else, after all.

    I wrote an article entitled ‘The eBook Revolution’ which touches on these points – it’s available on our blog through our main page – maybe worth a look?

    All the best

    Adam Charles

  • adam:
    thanks for the comment. i will check out your blog. the more we try to motivate authors with ideas like this, the more authors will embrace the ebook experience. childrens literature is a great opportunity.

  • I think the kids market is going to be blown open by the Leapster crowd or the Nintendo DS. So many reading games or apps are being created on those two hand-helds that, as a nerd and a parent, it seems apparent they are the first line for the kids.

    I’ve seen books on iPhones like Alice that are incredibly child-friendly with animated graphics and narration for pre-readers. The only thing missing is a way to do that with any kid’s book.

    Like you, I look forward to what the future holds as my own youngster is coming up Geek.

  • Whew, another new technology to learn prior to publishing to your audience. I would imagine that graphics would play a very important part in the production. Ae there artists out there that specialize in this new form? A test market for this work could possibly be the Nookkids refeenced in the article? We’ll take a look there on our Nookcolor and hopefully, it is like Smashwords and Pubit whee you can U/L your stories as you complete them. I love SPR!! Great ideas and articles.

  • allison:
    Thanks for the comment. Once the traditional people start catching up with the digital technology and start looking at creating directly to the ebook platform the better. This will be a hugh opportunity for ebook authors. You have a great point about other players coming into the market place and stealing the show. (Leapster crowd or the Nintendo DS)

  • My 12 year old daughter has a kindle. I thought it was a novelty because I am a YA author. I was surprised when her friend came over with a kindle that was issued to her from her junior high school library! The school owns a few and loans them out to the kids. It’s only a matter of time until the technology catches up and spreads to elementary and middle grade.

  • Thank you for such a well-formatted overview of the ‘Coming to a Kid Soon!’ developments for pairing children with their kid-friendly authors. I have many clients and workshop attendees who write for children and want reassurance that they are not going to be obsolete as the eReader phenom advances. From now on I can just hold up your column and point to it!

    Emily Hill “All Smart Cookies Can Self Publish”

  • Emily:
    thanks for the comment. ebooks will be a great area for children’s authors. with color and text to speech tools currently, authors can go wild with their idea. it won’t be long till we have sound, video and animation in our tool bag also. ipad should be able to do this already.

    • I think that Nook Kids has a ‘read to me’ feature…hmmm. Excited about seeing the Holiday roll-out of eReader options ;D

      Emily Hill “All Smart Cookies Can Self Publish”

  • emily:
    nookstudy is another possibility. once authors start exploring and using the tools, the possibilities could be endless. new ideas will come along and the software will be upgraded and we will continue on and on.

    • Eureka! We did a short and did our own graphics USING CLIP ART! Not the finished result that would sell millions at the library but it is a kids book that tells a story. Evidently decent–we have had mega-downloads in three days.

  • Addison:
    congrats. i wonder how your book would play in the Kindle Singles arena? news like yours starts me thinking of opportunities. can your ebook be followed by another along the same lines like a series? these books don’t need to be large books. the art can be drawings or even cartoon like characters. its the content and the color that sells. you know: will it be interesting for children to read? and then follow the characters.