A January 04, 2009 article by Alana Semuels in the Southern Oregon’s Mail Tribune, “Children’s literature has growth potential for e-books,” explores beyond the monetary gains by considering the learning losses:
[. . .] Kids are more likely than adults to interact with material on the Web, said Diane Naughton, vice president of marketing at HarperCollins Children’s Books. That publishing house has made 25,000 titles such as Lemony Snicket’s The Lump of Coal available digitally. Readers can browse them online or in some cases read them in full free.
There is some evidence that younger children learn less when they’re reading books in electronic form. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University, studied parents who read digital books with their children and found that young children don’t get meaning from what they’re reading when they’re playing with gadgets and distracted by all the bells and whistles of technology.
“We have to be careful that electronic media is not a substitute for hands-on,” she said.
Kids who spend too much time staring at screens instead of imagining fanciful stories in their heads or playing with friends miss out on hands-on creative play, an essential part of a child’s development, said Susan Linn, a psychologist and associate director of the media center at Boston’s Judge Baker Children’s Center.
“It’s a problem because it means they’re not exploring the world themselves,” she said.
Publishers counter that digital books can attract kids to titles they otherwise might not see.
In any case, with the publishing industry weak, digital books are unlikely to go away because they are generating revenue [. . .]
Read the full article here.