The ABC’s of Kids & eBooks: New Data and Research on the Children’s Book Market


DSC 0468

The Digital Book World conference started today in New York City and this particular session was dealing with some of the new data coming in for the Kids Book segment of the publishing industry.

Alison Bryant, Founder & President, PlayScience talked about a recent study done in partnership with Forbes owned Digital Book World. He mentioned that the first set of studies that will be done every 6 months. One of the main elements taken away from the recent report was the growth of the Kids eBook market. It has basically tripled from 2011 to 2012, that is  500% growth.  The most recent survey was done in October 2012 with 1237 parents of kids 2-13.  It found that 700 parents owned e-readers and that 54% of their kids aged 2-13 are reading digital books. A staggering number of kids  (85%)  e-read at least once a week.  89% of kids e-read at home and 59% e-read on the go every week.  E-readers are very much an at-home device.  The print sector still holds a fairly large lead over the digital editions.  50% of parents prefer to read print books with their child, compared to 12% who prefer ebooks.

The time spent on regular vs. “enhanced” ebooks is a toss-up.  Pre-schoolers are the ones who spend most time with enhanced ebooks.  Digital books still have a ways to go with parents.  The report noticed a trend that when the child is choosing what to co-read at night,  there is an edge towards ebooks.  If a parent is choosing there are many more factors are involved.  For some reason parents feel that print books are far more “valuable” than an ebook.  This tends to happen because of the generation gap, many parents grew up with real books and kids today are almost living in an exclusive digital world.

Overall, parents feel positive about ebooks.  Parents have a stronger feeling that ebooks help their kids learn subjects.  80% of parents want to be able to click on a word and have it sounded out. Interestingly, audio narration of text is less important to parents.  This may be because parents often frustrated by the way audio narration is done (can’t stop it, can’t turn a page, etc.). Parents really like games integrated into ebooks but don’t generally like the way it is mostly done.

There is now more choices now, more then ever when it comes to the hardware that is readily available and has a wide array of kids titles available.  Apple iPad’s tend to resonate more with kids with 24% currently using one.  Kindle Fire tablets clocked in at 22% and the Kindle line of e-ink readers was a solid 12%.  For 10-13 year-old’s the Amazon Kindle Fire was the device of choice.

The report concluded by looking at eBook statistics. 2/3 of parents planned on purchasing ebooks for their child for the 2012 holiday season. Parents say they pay an average of $5.37 per ebook, which is a 33% discount on what they say they will pay for paper books, but 40% more than they say they will pay for apps.  A parental perception that an ebook is worth more an an app. The most important purchase factor parents mentioned was when the child asked for a specific title.  This means that marketing to kids is very important.  The Amazon Kindle store is where most ebook purchasing takes place, followed by iTunes.  For iTunes, 2-5 year old’s buy in the app category, from 6 years old and up the purchases switch to the books category. If there is anything to glean from this report, its the very fact that kids ownership of their own tablets or e-readers is going up dramatically.

DSC 0469

Paul Biba (129 Posts)

is a retired corporate international lawyer who has worked in 53 countries. Since he is a very fast reader he came to ebooks out of self-defense in order to avoid carrying a suitcase of books on his travels around the world. An early ebook adopter, he has read on Palms, Pocket PCs and practically every device that has been out there. After being a frequent contributor to, the oldest ebook/epublishing blog on the net, Paul became TeleRead's Editor-in-Chief, a position he recently resigned. Send Paul an email to