Thursday, 24 May 2012

Middle Grade reader dilemma, ebook or pod...

Here is my dilemma.  Save up my pennies and delay my book publishing until I can do a print on demand book which includes an E- book option, or just go ahead now and do an E-book.

I am really torn because the research that I have been doing for the past few months all points to towards children preferring to read paper versus e-book.  Now whether that is because their parents don't want them breaking an e reader or simply don't want the initial outlay for an e-reader, or it is easier for a child to read an actual book I don't think I will ever fully have the answer. 

The trending articles at the moment point to the fact that the publishing industry has been turned on its head with e-book sales and e readers and the bottom line being much more lucrative for e-books and self publishers, but does that really take into account the children's book market.

I have been trawling through reader blogs, looking at their submission criteria for middle grade readers, and it seems that nearly every one refuses e-book submissions, and these are adults reviewing children's books.  It makes me wonder what chance do I have to get children reading my e-books if adults are still reluctant to do so.  Most of these blogger's are mum's or librarians, so I think they are a pretty good yard stick for what the market is doing.  

I don't think it will always be this way.  In a few years time I think we will have e readers in every school and there will be much cheaper, more drop friendly e readers for kids, but at the moment, I think that the print on demand book may be the only way to gain traction in the children's literature world.

So I am putting it out there to the world, parents of middle graders and children, what is the preferred.  Help me solve this dilemma.  Please leave me a comment at this blog, or on face book or twitter.



  1. Hi Jambo,

    As an MG children's writer who self-publishes through my company, Trojan Tub Entertainment, I understand and appreciative and am living through the difficulties you describe in your post. The children's market is definitely behind the adult market in regard to ebooks. But my hunch is that it's only a matter of time before even kids, especially those ready for MG and YA, will be reading electronically a lot if not most of the time. I've gone ahead and dived into the self-publishing pool because I want my work out there, I think it's fun, and because I see the wisdom in what U.S. hockey great Wayne Gretzky once advised, "Skate where the puck is going, not where it's been." It's not place to give you advice as to what you should do. These are just my thoughts to add to your research. Whatever you decide I wish you all the best!

    Daniel McInerny, author and CEO
    Trojan Tub Entertainment

  2. I published my MG fantasy as an e-book, and although I didn't sell a massive amount of copies, I do not regret it. Every copy I sold is another reader that is aware of my work, so that can't be a bad thing. I think you're right, kids generally read paper books. I will have to see the difference when I get mine in print. But you can still donate e-books to local libraries and things like that. I have an article on my blog about that. You have nothing to lose. I would say, go for it and start building a fan base where ever you can :)

  3. Hi Julie, nice to meet you. I'm a self-published authour and illustrator of children's books. I published them as eBooks and paperbacks. Kid's paperbacks sell better at the moment because most children don't yet have eReaders, but their parents sometimes do. I've found some parents will buy a cheap eBook and read it before buying the paperback. I've met a number of parents on Twitter that downloaded all my eBooks and then went and bought all my paperbacks. eBooks are a great way of advertising. Like Daniel said, it's only a matter of time before kids have eReaders. They already have them in some schools. I've had librarians, teachers, and parents read my eBooks on computers as well as on eReaders. You can also download a free computer eReader from Amazon and other places that sell eBooks. I joined Amazon KDP Select, which is a great tool for advertising to readers all over the world.

    Now to paperbacks. What are you waiting for? It costs very little to publish with CreateSpace. They give you all the instructions and tools you need. The royalties are quite reasonable, plus you can buy author copies at cost and sell them wherever you like. I sell many this way as well as on Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle.

    Go for both, publish as eBooks and paperbacks. Maybe publish an eBook first to get reviews and then if there's something that you're not happy with like the cover or you've made too many typos, you can edit the eBook, but once the paperback is published, it can't be edited. If you weren't happy with it, you'd then have to do a second edition and would have two books where the ranking would be split. I hope that helps you with your decision. I remember how daunting it was for me when I first published. I certainly don't regret publishing with CreateSpace or with Amazon Kindle. Smashwords has a free eBook with instructions on how to create an eBook.

    I have a Kindle and prefer it to reading a paperback, which I never thought I would. My grandkids, neices and nephews love checking out kid's books on my kindle. They are getting more and more popular and don't forget ipads. Kids absolutely love to get hold of them as they're in colour and paperbacks are usually black and white.

    Good luck!