Love the Times, Hate the Times

By now, readers, you may have noticed my love/hate relationship with the New York Times. And you may have noticed, too, that when it comes to their children’s books reporting, the “hate” side of the equation usually wins out. So I was all ready to get my antipathy juices flowing last week when the Times ran a piece on kids getting e-readers for the holidays, and how this has spiked middle-grade and YA ebook sales.

Per usual, the conclusions are based on scanty statistics and anecdotal evidence—notice how they don’t give a statistic for how many kids actually got e-readers for Christmas, not to mention the parenthetical caveat that, oh yeah, just maybe some of the YA readers are “older people”. And I actually laughed when they took the wildly speculative leap of picturing kids sitting around together with their Kindles decked out in Jonathan Alter and Kate Spade covers—hey, what about Diane Von Furstenburg?

But since the takeaway paints a positive picture for readers and publishers–unlike that awful article about picture books back in October—I guess I’ll have to come down on the “love” side, or at least somewhere in the middle. Yes, it’s a little worrisome to assume that kids are finally a viable community of ebook readers, because it could funnel precious marketing dollars toward a market that might not really exist yet. But then again, if the Times says it, it must be true… so, welcome to the future, young e-readers—have we got some books for you!

4 Responses to Love the Times, Hate the Times

  1. Joelle says:

    My students (Grade 6/7) think e-readers are ludicrous. They love books. “Why would you want to read on a screen?” they demanded when we talked about it. Of course, this was last school year. By now, that thinking might be out the window. And we are in Canada where the whole e-reader is fairly new compared to the U.S.

  2. Ciara says:

    Although I think it’s great if kids really are reading more because they have kindles or nooks I’m really starting to feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t “get” e-readers. I got one for Christmas, read one book on it (Never Let Me Go) and haven’t picked it up since. I just didn’t like using it at all. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy duddy already at 24!

  3. I read the article and it did have a whiff of “casual empiricism” about it(i.e., conclusions based on a couple of people I know or what I can see from my desk). I hope the article is right about the passion for reading that the young woman featured represents.

  4. Michael G-G says:

    The teen e-reader tsunami approaches. They might as well have screens implanted in the heads. Wait, hasn’t someone written about that?

    (We are currently enacting a teen descreening process in this house. It is not a pretty sight. Or sound. Door slams.)

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