Publishing Research Quarterly

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 236–248 | Cite as

The Impact of e-Books on Young Children’s Reading Habits



This article reports on a pilot study which aimed to consider the e-book reading experiences of young children and their families, with currently available portable e-reader devices: Amazon Kindle, Nintendo DS-lite and Apple iPod Touch. Three families, each with two children in the 7–12 year age range, experienced an e-reader for a two-week period. They recorded their experiences in a diary and were interviewed at the beginning and end of the study. Key findings include the fact that, of the six children involved, four rate themselves as ‘enthusiastic’ readers, one ‘average’ and one ‘reluctant’; whilst all six of the parents enjoy reading. At the end of the study, all of the participants chose the Kindle as their preferred device and found it the easiest to use. In addition, there were indications that the one reluctant young reader (a boy aged eight years) was inspired to read by the Kindle. His parents were pleased with this enthusiasm, noting that he was reading rather than watching television, excited by downloading and choosing books and it was the only time they had known him to ask to read voluntarily. When asked whether they prefer printed or electronic books, all of the adults chose printed books, whilst the children were more ambivalent, with half preferring electronic books.


e-Books e-Readers Children’s literature Child readers Families reading Amazon Kindle Nintendo DS-lite Apple iPod Touch Reluctant readers 


  1. 1.
    National Literacy Trust. What’s hot, what’s not 2008. London: National Literacy Trust; 2007. Accessed 22nd September 2010.
  2. 2.
    National Literacy Trust. National Literacy Campaign. Accessed 22nd September 2010.
  3. 3.
    National Literacy Trust. Reading Champions 2010. Accessed 10th August 2010.
  4. 4.
    Squires C. Marketing literature. London: Palgrave Macmillan; 2009.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    National Literacy Trust. Demystifying the reluctant reader. London: National Literacy Trust; 2007. Accessed 20th July 2010.
  6. 6.
    Wiesendanger K, Braun G, Perry J. Recreational reading: useful tips for successful implementation. Read Horiz. 2009;49(4):269–84.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Earl A, Maynard S. What makes a child a reluctant reader? New Rev Child Lit Lib. 2006;12(2):163–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Maynard S, MacKay S, Smyth F, Reynolds K. Young people’s reading in 2005: the second study of young people’s reading habits. London: Roehampton University; 2007.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clark C, Hawkins L. Young people’s reading: the importance of the home environment and family support. London: National Literacy Trust; 2010. Accessed 22 September 2010.
  10. 10.
    Lenski S, Lewis J. Reading success for struggling adolescent learners. New York: Guildford Press; 2008.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stauffer S. Developing children’s interest in reading. Libr Trends. 2007;56(2):402–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    McKool S. Factors that influence the decision to read: an investigation of fifth grade students’ out-of-school reading habits. Read Improv. 2007;44(3):111–31.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kingsley P. The art of slow reading. The Guardian, 15th July 2010. Accessed 18th July 2010.
  14. 14.
    Nielsen J. iPad and kindle reading speeds. Last modified 2nd July 2010.
  15. 15.
    Teather D. Amazon’s eBook milestone: digital sales outstrip hardbacks for the first time in US. The Guardian, 20th July 2010. Accessed 20th July 2010.
  16. 16.
    Cellan-Jones R. E-books: Amazon bites back. Last modified 29th July 2010.
  17. 17.
    Traditional Books ‘May Not Survive Electronic Age’. Accessed 6th August 2010.
  18. 18.
    Maynard S, McKnight C. Children’s comprehension of electronic books: an empirical study. New Rev Child Lit Lib. 2001;7:29–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Maynard S, McKnight C. Children’s classics in the electronic medium. Lion Unicorn. 1999;23(2):184–201.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Warren J. The progression of digital publishing: innovation and the e-volution of e-books. Int J Book. 2010;7(4):37–53.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Shamir A, Korat O. Developing an educational e-book for fostering kindergarten children’s emergent literacy. Comput sch. 2007;24(1):125–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nintendo. Nintendo DS Flips. Accessed 16th September 2010.
  23. 23.
    Nintendo. 100 classic book collection. Accessed 16th September 2010.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information ScienceLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

Personalised recommendations