Saturday, November 26, 2011

E-Reader or Tablet? What's on Your Gift List?

With Black Friday now past, it’s the season to be thinking about gift lists and shopping, if you have not done so already. Last year the oh-so-hot gift was the e-reader. This year, both the Nook and the Kindle have been morphed into tablets. In fact, Squidoo's Top Ten Christmas Gifts list  calls this year “The Year of The Tablet.” The list puts tablets in the number 3 spot, comparing the Kindle Fire favorably to the iPad, and it puts “A Tablet for the Kids” in the number 9 spot, featuring the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet.

So what does this e-reader-to-tablet evolution mean for kids, and for people who write for kids?

First, I think it means more kids will be inheriting their parents’ hand-me-down e-readers as Mom and Dad upgrade to a tablet now that they are so affordable.

And second, as tablets thrive, the prices of e-readers dive. That’s making them very affordable presents for kids. The Nook Simple Touch is now available for just $99 , and a Limited Edition sold for $79 on Black Friday.  Over at Amazon, the Kindle Wi-Fi 6" is selling for $79. 

With more kids getting e-readers one way or the other, the e-options for Children’s and YA authors look even more promising for the year ahead!

If you’re looking for a tablet, here's a review that compares the Kindle Fire to the iPad, and at the bottom there’s a video that compares the Kindle Fire to the Nook Tablet.
Whatever you buy, check this week’s Kids' E-Book Bestseller List  for all the latest reads to load up your new reader OR tablet, whichever you choose. (Or whichever Santa chooses to bring you.) 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Kids' E-Book Bestseller Blog

This week marks the one year anniversary of the Kids' E-Book Bestseller list and blog. Looking back on my first post on November 26th, 2010, "My Top Ten Reasons For Starting This Blog," you can see it's been an unusual year for the publishing industry, for the book business, and for authors. The landscape of publishing has changed dramatically, leaving many winners and many losers. Let's have a look. 
  • In November, 2010, there were no bestseller lists for e-books. Finally in February, the New York Times added two new lists to their arsenal -- one for fiction e-books and one for non-fiction e-books. They still don't have a list specifically for e-books for children and/or young adults. 
  • In September, 2011, the last of the Borders stores closed. Locally, I've discovered that our Waldenbooks closed as well as Books-a-Million. I live in one of the most densely populated counties in Florida, and my only bookstore within a half hour drive any direction is a Barnes and Noble. In the meantime, the internet gives me as a reader world-wide, 24/7 access to books for sale. It gives me as an author world-wide, 24/7 distribution of my book. And with Twitter, Facebook, forums and more, it gives me world-wide, 24/7 marketing opportunities. 
  • Over the past year, I've interviewed dozens of authors who've hit the top ten on the Kids' E-Book Bestseller list. Some are indies, some are traditionally published. Most have been pleasantly surprised by their e-format success. And most are excited by the new opportunities the e-format gives them as authors. 
  • And back when I started this blog, a local high school was one of the first to distribute Kindles to their students, in place of text books. They've deemed the experiment a success, and have continued to use Kindles for this school year. Many other schools have followed, and our governor has decided to make e-readers available in all public schools, kindergarten through high school, by 2015. 
Personally over the past year I've spoken with a variety of editors, agents, and traditionally published authors. It's my impression that the industry still had its head in the sand and its fingers crossed while more and more authors are exploring the new freedoms of the e-format and print on demand, and are enjoying a bigger cut of their profits. I've published my first e-book on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble. It was relatively easy. Many established authors are taking their mid-list books that are not longer in circulation, re-publishing them as e-books, and are finding even greater success than they ever had in bookstores. 

So join me as we delve into another year, with more breaking news as technology continues to advance, and with more interesting and informative interviews with successful authors for children and young adults. Keep coming back, and take a minute to tell a friend! 

As always, the Kids' E-Book Bestseller List has been updated (every Saturday, 8 AM). Have a look!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Annie Fox: Is E-Format Her Friend? YES!

On October 15th, Are You My Friend? by Annie Fox, illustrated by Eli Noyes, hit the number 3 spot in the iBookstore. Annie's here to tell us all about her e-experience with this book.

What's the story of Are You My Friend?

Raymond Alligator is a super smart, super shy 5-year-old who feels left out when big sister Sheila has a friend over. He and his teddy bear are tighter than tight, but lately Raymond’s wondering if he needs someone else to be his friend. Making a new friend sounds like a great idea but, well, it can also be kinda scary. Are You My Friend? is a story with heart and mind that helps 4-8 yr olds think about feelings and friendships in new ways that include standing up for yourself and stepping outside your comfort zone to make a new friend.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

Our target audience is 4-8 year olds. In our case, since our ebook includes Read-to-Me narration with synchronized text highlighting, it provides a language rich listening environment as well as helping kids build a sight vocabulary, both of which contribute to learning to read.

Is your book available in print format?

No, just in digital form. It is an original digital storybook, though we're exploring the possibility of bringing it into paper book form as well.

Here's a peek inside!
Tell us about your path to publication.

Because of our extensive backgrounds in writing for kids and in computer game design for kids and adults, we created the content and did the production ourselves. From there we published it directly in the iBookstore. Are You My Friend? is first in the Raymond and Sheila Stories series. For this one (and the others that follow) the plan is to create them first as Read-it-to-Me iBooks and then as other digital versions with additional interactivity, and some with less interactivity for those e-readers that can’t handle the ePub3 format yet.

How are people finding out about your book?

We’re using social media, including Twitter and Facebook, but the most successful way we’ve found of getting the word out is by having it reviewed on as many websites and blogs as possible. The challenge is that there just aren’t many (any?) websites dedicated to reviewing iBooks for kids. But since we’ve also published a graphic novel book app this year (Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential graphic novel) , we’re finding the relationships we created with many of the app reviewers is helping us open the door to their reviewing our iBooks as well. For most of these sites, our iBook is the first one they’ve looked at, so we’re breaking a lot of new ground here.

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author?

Learn more about Annie and
 her books at 
her website.
Definitely helps. It gives us the freedom to create our books exactly as we've envisioned them. We're thrilled with the creative autonomy and don't for one minute miss having some acquisitions editor say “Gee, we really love this manuscript, but we already have a book similar to it in our catalog. Sorry.”

Do you think the e-format helps or hurts your readers? How?

It helps them in many ways. Because ebooks are generally much less expensive than paper books, a family can afford to buy many more of them. And because they’re in digital form, the child can have an entire library with her while going on long car trips...

Many thanks to Annie for the interesting interview! As usual, I've included her links so you can learn more! 

This week's Kids' E-book Bestseller List shows Christopher Paolini taking the number one spots by storm with his book, Inheritance! He hit the TOP in Amazon Children's and YA, Barnes and Noble Teens, iBooks Children and Teens AND Sony Children's sections. Hmm...I wonder if there's any chance of an interview?  I'll see what I can do!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

C.C. Hunter's Awake At Dawn Launches with E-sales "Almost As Great" as Print Sales

C.C. Hunter is here to tell us about her e-book experience with  Awake At Dawn, which hit the number 8 spot in the "Children and Teens" section of the Apple iBookstore last month. C.C. is an award winning romance writer, and Awake at Dawn is the second book in her Shadow Falls series.

Read Chapter 1 at
C.C.'s Facebook page.
First, let's hear what your story is about.

Sixteen-years-old Kylie Galen struggles to figure out who she is, only to discover that she doesn’t know what she is. Imagine being told you aren’t human? Envision being sent to camp surrounded by witches, werewolves, vampires, faes, and shape-shifters. And why is it that she feels for the first time in her life, as if she fits in? Kylie’s journey is one of self-discovery, and includes love, friendships, family issues, and a yearning to find her destiny. It’s not your average identity crisis.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that group?

When I was asked to write a young adult series by St. Martin’s Griffin, I immediately knew I wanted to write a book with a premise that crossed the age and gender barriers as had many other wonderful young adult series. Being a writer of adult romances, I wanted my regular readers to follow me into this exciting genre. So my target audience has always been for teens and adults as well.

I’m told that the majority of people reading in e-format are adults, but it appears that this is changing. With my first book in the Shadow Falls series, published in March 2011 the e-sales were much lower than print sales, nevertheless, I was recently told that with Awake at Dawn, my second book in the series, that released this month, my e-sales were almost as great as my print sales.

It seems apparent that as the cost of the e-readers go down, more people will turn to them as a reading format, and more parents will be buying their children e-readers for their convenience.

Tell us about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past? 

I sold my first novel in 1994 to Silhouette Romance. Independent publishing was not nearly as popular back then. After having trouble selling a second book, I started a new career in freelance writing. I broke back into the novel publishing and sold my single titles books in 2006 to Dorchester. The e-format was really just beginning to grow in popularity. Yet, I still didn’t own an e-reader myself. However, last year, I got my rights back to my recent backlist and I made them available in e-format. When these books started hitting bestseller lists, my eyes were really opened at just how popular the e-format was growing. I knew then that I, too, had to join the crowd. I’ve since gotten myself an e-reader. While I still love my paperbacks, I can’t deny seeing all the advantages of e-format.

I started out publishing traditional, but now I’ve added some independent publishing, so I see a great value in doing both.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

While I have self-published my backlist and even plan to publish another adult title soon, I’m still publishing the traditional route with St. Martin’s Griffin and Grand Central. And as an author, I see the value of continuing to do both, so my traditional books are also marketed through my publishers. Of course, I also do my share of marketing with the other social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and my Website.

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author? How?

I can’t say it will hurt the author. However, I think the rise in e-format fame is changing the publishing industry and some of those changes will no doubt cause some growing pains both for the publishers, booksellers, and the authors. An author used to look to her print runs as a measuring stick of how well her career was doing. With the rise in popularity of the e-format, publishers are lowering print runs. However, some of the measures in which a book is recognized in today’s standards are still tied to the old way of viewing a book’s success. I think in time all these issues will smooth out and we’ll get used to a new norm.

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts your readers, specifically children and/or young adults? How?

With our children being so technically gifted, I can really see how e-readers will be a big hit with young adults. As for helping these teens, I can see how e-readers being used in education could really be a benefit—if for no other reason than preventing them from carrying tons of books to school. Of course, as a parent who has also dealt with children and their loss of items such as phones, electronic games, and even lap tops, I know this transition will cause some parents a lot of headaches. LOL.


Thanks to C.C. for her insights. I've provided links within her interview so you can learn more about her. 

On this week's Kids' E-book Bestseller List I see the Twilight series making a comeback, plus several new authors to explore and learn about. Check back here often to learn the latest in e-format for kids. Better yet, become a follower and subscribe to the RSS feed. With the publishing world changing so fast, you don't want to miss out on the news and views!