This great article (thanks Dawn!) talks about how the future of Children’s Publishing is also the future of publishing. Just as our future hinges on having our kids grow up and save the planet from our follies, the publishing world depends on young readers growing up and becoming, well, older readers. And perhaps an indication of what those older readers want can be found in this great quote by Jeff Kinney, famed author of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
“Great stories are being told that do not rely on violence or sex or those sorts of things that are the hallmarks of literature that is intended for adults,” Kinney said. “I think we focus more on storytelling. There are a lot of adults I encounter who exclusively read children’s literature.”
If adults are reading kidlit, then what are the kids doing? Many of them are going online, and not just the YA crowd. More and more, younger kids are lured by book-related games and online activities to hook them into the printed books. According to Scholastic, they have 760,000 registered users on their site. I know my kids rock Club Penguin all the time. They’ve just recently decided to tie some books to the popular on-line game. But these multimedia and social-networking enterprises are big money, and usually reserved for MG books that publishers have decided to put their advertising budgets behind.
I still think e-readers will ultimately draw young readers in, once they are common in households. But will they take the 6+ hours of time to read the book? There are many that say kids cannot sustain that kind of attention, but I’m not one of them.
All they need is a good story.