Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville office
Weather: Low 90s and muggy
A sentence on page 20 in Publishers Weekly‘s recent July 19 issue on children’s books for this fall caught my eye: “…It’s unclear whether parents will fork over the money for kids to use a $499 iPad that might easily fall into the toilet or sandbox.” I hadn’t thought of that!
It’s one thing for a child to leave a $14.95 hardcover or even a $6.95 paperback out in the rain or let the dog chew it, but it’s quite another for him/her to do the same with the expensive hardware needed for an electronic app, no matter how cheap the app. I should have thought of this because one of my young grandsons is not the most careful, and I bet lots of parents will have the same thoughts.
Regardless, it does seem clear that creators of content for children–that’s you authors–must at least try to think of interactive product. The closest we have come at this point is in lift-the-flap books, cut-outs with texture (think Pat the Bunny) and multi-novelty creations like Paul Zelinsky’s The Wheels on the Bus. Now, the emphasis seems to be on converting formerly published titles with sales vitality into something that “comes to life” through technology, puts children in the content and to some extent lets them have control over it.
The writing in the sand points to a reinvigoration of content for all readers, but not necessarily new content. Rick Riordan’s 39 Clues Series, launched in 2008, is telling in this regard. The series included books, cards and online games with a designated website. But the series, written by four different authors, all had some reference to historical characters. It was new technology applied to conveying existing knowledge. Incidentally the final book, Into the Gauntlet, will be published at the end of August with a print run of 750,000. I’d like to see the number of hits the website gets.
One more quote from the article: “Publishers will focus on producing the best possible stories–and then making them ‘discoverable.'” And we know who writes those stories, don’t we?
How do you feel about making the shift from writing for the page to writing for the screen?