Thursday, November 11, 2010
I was at work the day that B&N launched its new Nookcolor. It’s an e-reader in color. The 4th floor was closed for days in preparation and secrecy. I heard that Hors d'oeuvres and even alcohol was served at the event. No one was allowed up on the floor except those who were invited. That meant customers were barred. Most didn’t give us a hard time though a few gave a bit of an attitude. One customer said “I’m never shopping here again! I’m going to the Strand.” Good go, is what I thought. I hate attitudes.
Anyway, this is what I read on PW: “The addition of color to the e-reading device allowed B&N to officially announce Nook Kids, which in addition to 12,000 chapter books, will have 130 picture books at launch with that number expected to double by the end of the year. Some of the children’s books will be enhanced e-books, featuring video and audio.”
“Initial reaction to Nookcolor from the many publishers in attendance at B&N's New York headquarters was positive, with the addition of color and the price seen as the most exciting features. Color, said the head of one children’s division, “puts children’s publishers in the e-book game.” Also in attendance was Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Book Group, who observed that the presentation, which featured actors and actresses going through a typical day using the Nookcolor, seemed aimed primarily at women, the people most likely to buy picture books. Katz believes that not only will the Nookcolor provide a needed boost to picture book sales, but will also change the way authors and illustrators create picture books in the future, requiring them to keep in mind how the book will look on a screen.”
Boy does this scare me! First of all I can’t imagine having bedtime with a 3 or 4 year old while staring at a little screen, one that cost well over 200 dollars at that! God forbid the child touch it for he or she might break the device! Imagine if it were dropped during a reading? Or drooled on? What about the joy of the page turn? Kids like turning the pages themselves. Sometimes the pages might rip but it’s just paper! Well… it is when it’s a BOOK. And illustrators are expected to now worry about how their art will look in print AND on a screen? Like I’m not driven crazy enough about getting the color right for deadlines as it is.
Also, how do we as authors and illustrators get fairly paid? I still don’t think that’s clear yet.
There was one thing brought up on a list that a librarian mentioned. The devices might be good while at a restaurant or on the subway when the child needs to be entertained. But thinking along these lines, I don’t like this: “Some of the children’s books will be enhanced e-books, featuring video and audio.” Eeek! Maybe we illustrators will become obsolete, in favor of animators and people who can make things interactive.
So you can guess what my vote is on this one. I got a contract for one of my books to go digital and it’s still sitting on my desk unsigned.
Posted by Meghan McCarthy at 12:47 AM