With the release date for To See the World looming, I am busy helping to organise the launch at the State Library on 1st May. But between meetings and last minute emails from my publisher I came across a report from the Click on Kids Conference in August last year. Cate Sutherland, from Fremantle Press, was talking about the publishing industry in general and quoted new research which has revealed that there is a move by teenagers away from digital and back to print books.
Cate said, ‘One of the most curious statistics was the move away from e-reading by teenagers. While they are generally enthusiastic and early embracers of new technology, it seems they prefer their books on paper as a visible part of their self-identity.’
Surprising in one way but, to their credit, Fremantle Press has been one of the first established publishers to move to simultaneous publication of all new titles in digital and print form. It is very encouraging to see that such a brave move on their part seems to be paying off. Ultimately, only time will tell. But I have always believed that the two forms of publication would support, rather than detract from, each other. We know that stories will survive. Telling stories, whether to entertain, inform, or simply to try and make sense of our world, is part of being human. Whether they are told as movies, TV series, comics, e-books or on paper is not really the issue. How we compensate our authors, directors, illustrators and other creators for their work is the important question.