Roald Dahl e-books

As reported by Entertainment Weekly many of Roald Dahl’s classic books are being released in the e-book variety. I’m not going to argue about which books should have been included over others, but rather ask why?

I understand that having an e-book is convenient, but are we really teaching kids to live in a world dominated by screens so badly that we’re taking out the book in physical form? I went to Amazon to see the pricing difference between the Kindle versions and the paperbacks and they are minimal if there at all. You can buy a box set of fifteen books for about $70.00 the cheapest Kindle editions are $6.99 which makes the total of buying all of those over $100.00, but you can’t even buy them all on Kindle.

Dahl should be a part of every child’s reading. Books like The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are what made reading enjoyable for me as a kid. However, I don’t think that the same device which allows you to play Angry Birds, and surf the internet should be where you read everything when you’re a kid.

I don’t understand the point of reading such classic material on a medium that is only necessary for cost effectiveness, but in this instance isn’t cost effective. Kindle is a great tool for up and coming authors and for discovering new stories. At the end of the day it’s just a screen. Like this computer is just a screen. One day I’ll die and my kids will have tons of books left over. However when the people who insist on buying Kindle, because they’re too lazy to get a real book die, their kids get an out dated piece of equipment that won’t be read at all.

It’s great that Dahl will be easier to access, but if you don’t have to use the Kindle to let a child read this material, don’t. You’re robbing them of the very experience you hope to pass down.


3 thoughts on “Roald Dahl e-books

  1. Seeing as I grew up destitute in Nowhere, Mississippi in the 80s and 90s, Roald Dahl’s work was not part of my childhood reading. I was homeschooled and lived 18 miles from the nearest public library and 22 miles from the nearest bookstore. It’s a Books-a-Million, by the way, and still does fantastic business in its lonely mall alcove. Yes, I suppose you could call a bookish 11 year old boy lazy for not having the stamina – physical or emotional – to trek as far as 22 miles to get new books that weren’t Newport-scented romance paperbacks from church yard sales, but you can’t possibly be implying that everyone on Earth must surely have the financial and geographical means by which to acquire ‘tons of books.’

    If you took my 11 year old self aside and asked him to do two things: Hand you $80, and pee on Roald Dahl’s grave in exchange for a magic book that could reach into an invisible network and show him any book he wanted for little or no money, he would do it.

    1. In the 80s and 90s we didn’t have Kindles. But my post clearly said these books from Amazon are the usually same price for the real book and the e-book. If you had to spend the same amount of money and not go anywhere, I don’t see why the choice would be the e-book.

  2. A great post! Children who are given books to read only on kindle are also missing out on a tactile experience that subconsciously helps to promote literacy. The physical act of actually entering a bookshop, choosing a book you want and taking it home, not to mention the experience of the transaction itself, all prepare you for the act of reading. You have put effort into acquiring a book and you expect to reap the reward. It’s a bit like people who pay for a trainer at the gym; they tend to stick with their training longer than people who don’t because they feel they have invested into the idea. I know people pay for ebooks but the transaction is just a click, over and done with in seconds.

    The act of holding a book in your hand is also an aid to reading. You turn a page every time you come to the end of one. With an ebook, this is just a swipe, just the same as flicking through websites on an ipad and not exclusive to reading a book. As you progress through the book, its weight shifts in your hands, from unread to read. And when you are done, you place the book on a shelf along with the others in your collection. On an ebook, and increasingly on ipads and tablets, the read book is just an icon, no different from a film or a photo or an app. The exclusivity just does not exist. It’s a pity that everything we do is being reduced to interacting with a screen.

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