Books, Publishing

Winnie the Pooh on Nintendo DS

Done today: Chapter 1 (four pages)

Revision remaining: 165 pages

Daily pages needed to be finished by end of November: 3.5

Finally got down to some good revision this morning. Phew! Does it feel good to be working with the book again.

We’ve read that children’s books have been doing better than some other segments in this recession. Borders even took floorspace from CDs and DVDs to expand children’s books. However, in today’s culture, kids have so many more things calling out for their attention, and the most popular is videogames.

That’s why I LOVE what Egmont is doing. Britain’s Telegraph reported that Danish publisher Egmont (which has a U.S. division, Egmont USA) has signed a deal with EA Games to put children’s books on Nintendo’s DS handheld videogame console. The Telegraph reports that Penguin is involved in the deal too.

The ebooks will be known as Flips and will include Enid Blyton books (a favorite of mine was I was a tyke) and boys’ book Too Ghoul For School.

Egmont owns the rights to Winnie the Pooh (still a favorite of mine), the Mr. Men series (I love Mr. Tickle!!), Thomas the Tank Engine, Wallace & Gromit and Rupert the Bear, so I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before these are on the DS too.

Ereaders and ebooks have been gaining in popularity. The blogosphere and Twitter have been all, well, atwitter with discussions about them. Are they the future? Who knows. I personally don’t think paper books will ever go away completely, but maybe that’s my nostalgia talking.

But the interesting thing about ebooks is the opportunity to attract kids. Kids lock onto gadgets and new technologies faster than anyone, and what better place is there for a book than a handheld videogame console kids carry around all the time?

The key is making the ebooks as fun as the videogames, which could be a challenge with so much less interaction in a book. In the Telegraph article, Egmont’s Rob McMenemy said ebooks won’t be popular with kids until they have color and moving imagery. The Flips will have an interactive element.

I think he’s right. And my hope, is that kids who gain a love for these moving, interactive ebooks will grow up to enjoy the paper kind — or at least regular old digital kind — of stories only books can deliver.

What do you think? What’s the future?

Write On!

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