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4 experts and 4 parents have answered

expert answer
Roberto Catanuto expert
Roberto Catanuto Teacher, Club Instructor CH
Education expert

Answers may vary hugely.

A printed book gives you way more physicalfeelingwith the story. You could even smell the pages if you like ! And neurology shows our smell ability is the most closely connected with our brain. But the opportunity to collect hundreds of books altogether in an ebook is still invaluable...

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Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Carole Hart Fletcher FRSA expert
Carole Hart Fletcher FRSA Director - KidsOKOnline Devon, UK
E-safety expert

There is a physicality related to reading a real book that you do not get when reading an ebook. I was recently in the audience when Bob Geldof was being interviewed .... who is a great believer in book reading. He quoted research that shows when reading a real book you retain 20% more information.

From my perspective having taught many young learners to read there is nothing to compare with the experience of handling and reading a book, the sharing of it ... the colours, covers, illustrations, making marks/notes/scribblings, turning corners .... a real book appeals to visual, auditory and kinesthetic personalities whereas I suspect an ebook would not appeal in the same way.

My answer is real books are more enjoyable than ebooks and there will always be a place for them especially when children are learning to read ....

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Experience 4 years ago
Simon Munk writer
Simon Munk Consumer tech journalist, mountain biker, dad of two. Walthamstow

Wendy nailed it: "it's our job as parents to make sure that real books don't become boring."

I've got nothing against interactivity (I write about and play games for a living!) - but the idea that one medium is an apt replacement for another is seriously foolish IMHO. TV has never replaced film - the two offer entirely different experiences with different pros and cons. Similarly I find the rush to replace books with interactive books utterly crazy - as if kids only have a two minute attention span.

If anything it's lack of parental attention and involvement that's encouraging this rush to make everything zingier and more interactive. That, fairly obviously, doesn't make it the right thing to do.

Reading longform fiction uses all sorts of areas of the brain that quickfire, interactive stuff simply doesn't. Encouraging kids to read, reading stories with them, creating a love and understanding of the power of stories from an early age all help create avid readers. Our kids love reading and being read to - because we love reading and reading to them. And they love talking about elements of the plot, the characters, the wordplay etc.

By providing visual cues constantly to any story, interactive stories miss out a massive element of imagination, commonly. It's like saying "don't bother reading Harry Potter, just watch the film."

That said, that doesn't answer the question relating to eBooks specifically - as most eBooks aren't more illustrated, animated or interactive than their paper counterparts. I personally find eBooks a tad soulless - but that's not a general argument against them.

What is a general argument against them is simply most paperback books are more robust, portable without breakage worries and sharable. If you're talking teens who have phones, then perhaps eBooks represent good sense. But a ten year old is surely far better sticking a paperback in a bag than an eReader?

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Opinion 4 years ago
Joanne Mallon writer
Joanne Mallon Author, parent, blogger Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, UK

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? Well nowadays, rather than ending up with fingers in between every other page in case you take a wrong turn, you can just use interactive app books. They’re fun, but don’t have to be instead of ‘real’ books.

John Higgs writes the Books vs Apps blog. He reckons that classic stories are becoming less popular with kids: ‘There’s already been a general move away from stories in pre-school media. The best-selling comic is Moshi Monsters, which is based on collectable game characters rather than stories, and CBeebies favours series like Waybuloo, In The Night Garden and Baby Jake which prioritise visuals over narrative.

‘But in an era when children have so many choices for multimedia entertainment, a book app is an attempt to get them interested in reading.’

My own son has gone from playing Harry Potter apps on the iPad to reading the original books, so perhaps we should embrace the multimedia options rather than seeing them as a threat – after all, if it’s all about reading at the end of the day, who cares how you get there?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a child who’s a naturally keen reader, then they will probably always have a fondness for books. But it’s with reluctant readers that app-style books have real potential – those kids who’d rather be playing a video game or watching TV.

Do your children read book apps? What do you think about reading being turned into a multimedia experience?

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Opinion 4 years ago
Wendy McAuliffe writer
Wendy McAuliffe Mummy blogger & PR specialist Bournemouth, UK

I have always been a keen reader, and to this day I love proper books! My favourite outing as a child was to the local library to choose some new books to read, and I get that same buzz when I take my daughter now (and thankfully, so does she). I'm not sure browsing through the Kindle store as a child would have established such an emotive relationship for me with books.

But weirdly, my sister was the complete opposite to me and my Mum tried every book/comic under the sun to get her interested in reading. I agree that interactive book apps might certainly have their place with the more reluctant reader.

But to answer your question, I feel strongly that it's our job as parents to make sure that real books don't become boring. They offer a world of discovery in a way that I'm not quite sure interactive books can match. I am being very careful to keep the ratio of real books to ebooks, heavily weighted towards the paper variety in our home!

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Opinion 4 years ago
Chanda Gohrani admin
Chanda Gohrani Social media manager of Quib.ly London, GB

I agree with Wendy. In fact I find e-books boring compared to real books. Nothing substitutes the feel of a real book in my hand, the joy of seeing hardcovers in your bookshelf at home. And the smell of old books...! But I am talking about the novels and other fiction that I read as an adult.

I also agree with Joanne that the multimedia options in e-books can generate the general interest of reading in kids, which is more important. Whether they choose paperbacks or e books as adult is totally upto them.

"It doesn't matter where you're reading. We're all reading the same thing." -CassJayTuck

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Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Adam Clark expert
Adam Clark Father of 5, Technology Expert San Luis Obispo, US
Technology expert

No. Books are about content, not format. Except in the case of really small children and their books, which tend to be hands on, etc, e-books can be a great way to engage children and read great stories. Just last night I got caught up in the e-book version of a series I am reading to the point that my tablet died all of a sudden and I ran to the plug and sat next to it till I finished it at 3am! You couldn't tell me the story was any less exciting (ask me and I'll tell you what the book was - genre fantasy).

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Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Dr. Marc Blackwell Sr expert
Dr. Marc Blackwell Sr Family Counselor & Parent Coach Cape Town, ZA
Family therapy expert

E-books or "paper" books? Both are real and both are proper and offer different 'physicalities' ... but the experience is only a relative part of any story. The story itself needs to be 'interactive' - exciting - interesting - gripping and able to hold the child's attention. E-books that fail to achieve these true & vital features of reading will be set aside for paper-books with imaginative stories! When either one succeeds in capturing a child's imagination it will (over time) be the story-line that excites that child's imagination, be it paper-book or e-books?

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Opinion 3 years ago

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