Fremantle Press Children’s Publisher Cate Sutherland said despite the growth of the digital world, the future still looks bright for children’s print books, following a digital publishing conference she attended this month in Sydney.
Ms Sutherland helped organise the Click on Kids – Children’s Digital Publishing Seminar that showcased a mix of speakers with expertise in areas including software creation and market research and analysis.
Ms Sutherland said there was great discussion at the conference about how technology is being used in the children’s book industry.
‘The biggest change in the industry has definitely been the explosion of digital, and the myriad possibilities it brings,’ she said.
‘We saw some wonderful examples of what is possible with the new technology – from simple animations with audio, to multi-layered, multi-media extravaganzas.’
However, recent data has revealed some surprising changes about the way teenagers read, with a shift from digital back to print.
‘One of the most curious statistics was the move away from e-reading by teenagers,’ she said.
‘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.’
Ms Sutherland said even with new technology there would always be a place for story and, at least for the time being, for print too.
‘The digital wonderland offers enormous possibilities, but for the most part they will exist alongside, rather than in place of, paper books,’ she said.