I want to pass along a couple of interesting pieces that both relate to whether print books will continue to be needed and loved. While I like ebooks and was pleasantly surprised when I had one to review that I didn’t miss the print format, it’s a very different experience to read on a screen. I find it difficult to get immersed in the same way, and clearly the author of this New York Times piece agrees. Even digital natives, people who are completely accustomed to electronic devices, still find a particular pleasure in print books, with their pages to turn, and the wide variety of the ways they look and feel.
The second piece was on NPR, and I wish every parent of young children could hear it or read it. It talks about how children who don’t have regular bedtimes walk around feeling almost jet-lagged a lot of the time, and not surprisingly, it has an effect on behavior. Sometimes I feel so sorry for kids walking around in the morning looking dazed with fatigue. One of the points they make here is that kids need a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve screens, because screens disrupt the body’s rhythm and throw off the natural rise in melatonin that makes kids (and grownups) sleepy.
There are some very cool treatments of picture books on iPads and other tablets, and they have their place, as do the great DVDs of picture books. But they aren’t a substitute for print picture books, with their page turns (fast one time, s-l-o-w-l-y another) and a grown-up doing the reading, and pointing things out to each other in the pictures. It’s a more peaceful experience altogether. I’ve always thought that picture books were going to be the last remaining print books to be published and purchased, because they are just so different. Holding Harold and the Purple Crayon in your hands and turning its small pages is an entirely different experience from holding the large, vertical How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Changing the rotation of the electronic device is just not the same as the feel of those sizes and shapes and weights in a child’s hands.
It is always so nice to read something that agrees with what you already thought!