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Author Topic: Kids E-Book Ideas?  (Read 2875 times)
daddydave
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« on: September 11, 2012, 11:42:21 AM »

School has just started here, and it seems like this may be the (school) year of the e-book. I was already thinking of getting a couple of Kindles,  and my kids told me (after I expressed that I was considering buying some Kindles) that there will be an announcement very soon about increased used of ebook readers or tablets (I know they bought a bunch of iPads). They say some of their classmates already bring these to school.

Most of the children's ebooks I've seen on Amazon are twice the price I would pay for the typical paperback kid's book, so I am having doubts as to whether I would really gain anything other than saving a trip to the public library. Amazon allows you to rent some books from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library once a month, but all they can tell you is they have Harry Potter, the actual books available in the Lending Library are apparently a big secret unless you buy a Kindle.

Aside from paying for ebooks through Amazon, I am looking at borrowing ebooks through the local library. I will consider paying for a library card from out of town. But every library I've checked (including NYPL)  seems to have the same crappy browsing of all juvenile ebooks not categorized by age group.

So I guess I am looking for any of the following:
- Better way to navigate kids ebooks by age group and get suggestions
- Awareness of any independently published children's books or website specializing in kids ebooks that can be read on a Kindle or other reader
- Any suggestions of ebooks kids in the upper single digits (say 7 to 9 years old) can enjoy, that can be borrowed or otherwise obtained inexpensively.
- Any other children's ebook tips

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kunkel321
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 11:50:29 AM »

Don't don't know the answers to these, but FYI, I recently stumbled on to this
http://www.techsupportale...ces-free-books-online.htm
Maybe there are some kids' books in there ...
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40hz
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 12:02:15 PM »

FWIW, my GF (who is my in-house consumer electronics expert) decided on a Nook rather than a Kindle after one of her extremely thorough and nit-picky studies. She thought the B&N title selection and pricing was better. And feature-wise, the Nook had far less "nonsense" than Amazon's reader. She's been extremely happy with hers. Don't know if that would work out the same for a user who's not an adult. However, I have friends who bought Kindles for their kids who haven't been all that happy with them - mainly because of the kid book pricing and selection.

Of course now that Microsoft has essentially bought out (or more probably bought off) B&N (in an effort to get out of that ridiculous patent lawsuit they themselves started) there's every indication the new Nooks will soon start being based on Windows 8 rather than Android as the current models are. Could be good or bad. Only time will tell on that score.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 12:07:28 PM by 40hz » Logged

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daddydave
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 12:02:33 PM »

Don't don't know the answers to these, but FYI, I recently stumbled on to this
http://www.techsupportale...ces-free-books-online.htm
Maybe there are some kids' books in there ...

Nice..found a link to 161 Places For Free Children's eBooks Online  there. That will keep me busy for a while. smiley
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Renegade
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 12:27:50 PM »

Don't don't know the answers to these, but FYI, I recently stumbled on to this
http://www.techsupportale...ces-free-books-online.htm
Maybe there are some kids' books in there ...

Nice..found a link to 161 Places For Free Children's eBooks Online   there. That will keep me busy for a while. smiley

Looks excellent! Thanks for the link!

We're not quite at that stage yet, but I'll be keeping this in mind.

Of course now that Microsoft has essentially bought out (or more probably bought off) B&N (in an effort to get out of that ridiculous patent lawsuit they themselves started) there's every indication the new Nooks will soon start being based on Windows 8 rather than Android as the current models are. Could be good or bad. Only time will tell on that score.

This really pisses me off. Even when you want to just go and get a book for your kid, you have to worry about this crap.

Nothing against you 40 - you've pointed out a valid issue. But should it even be an issue? Sanity would say "no". Reality on the other hand isn't completely sane. Sad
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40hz
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 01:09:06 PM »

^Well...if you're gonna confuse the issue with sanity and common sense we might as well end this discussion right here. tongue

But seriously, it shouldn't matter. Then again, there was the Zune...
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daddydave
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 01:23:38 PM »

Don't don't know the answers to these, but FYI, I recently stumbled on to this
http://www.techsupportale...ces-free-books-online.htm
Maybe there are some kids' books in there ...

Nice..found a link to 161 Places For Free Children's eBooks Online   there. That will keep me busy for a while. smiley

On investigation, ebook is defined very loosely there..any web site with a story on it seems to be considered an ebook. But still worth some digging though.
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daddydave
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012, 11:40:09 AM »

Of course now that Microsoft has essentially bought out (or more probably bought off) B&N (in an effort to get out of that ridiculous patent lawsuit they themselves started) there's every indication the new Nooks will soon start being based on Windows 8 rather than Android as the current models are. Could be good or bad. Only time will tell on that score.

Maybe we should just run the Kindle app and the Nook app and whatever else on a rooted Nook. That's kind of future proof. Maybe the same could be done on future Windows devices.

Windows Phone 7.x is supposed to be really good at running on low-end hardware, I wonder why it wouldn't be better to use Windows Phone 8 instead of Windows RT 8 since basically all it has to do is run the Nook app.
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wraith808
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2012, 01:18:17 PM »

For the nook, they have a store specifically for kids:

http://www.barnesandnoble...igital-animated/379003131

Grouped by age range.  Some of them are retail prices, but there are some bargain (and free) books also.
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daddydave
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 05:07:18 AM »

Don't don't know the answers to these, but FYI, I recently stumbled on to this
http://www.techsupportale...ces-free-books-online.htm
Maybe there are some kids' books in there ...

Nice..found a link to 161 Places For Free Children's eBooks Online  there. That will keep me busy for a while. smiley

Looks excellent! Thanks for the link!

We're not quite at that stage yet, but I'll be keeping this in mind.

Of course now that Microsoft has essentially bought out (or more probably bought off) B&N (in an effort to get out of that ridiculous patent lawsuit they themselves started) there's every indication the new Nooks will soon start being based on Windows 8 rather than Android as the current models are. Could be good or bad. Only time will tell on that score.

This really pisses me off. Even when you want to just go and get a book for your kid, you have to worry about this crap.

Nothing against you 40 - you've pointed out a valid issue. But should it even be an issue? Sanity would say "no". Reality on the other hand isn't completely sane. Sad


After Borders closed, showing that all brick bookstores will die eventually, buying a Nook from the other big brick-and-mortar bookstore seemed like a sure dead end, and Amazon seemed like it would be the last bookstore standing. At least the partnership with Microsoft seems to change that, so in that sense it is an improvement.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 05:22:44 AM by daddydave » Logged
wraith808
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 07:58:28 AM »

After Borders closed, showing that all brick bookstores will die eventually, buying a Nook from the other big brick-and-mortar bookstore seemed like a sure dead end, and Amazon seemed like it would be the last bookstore standing. At least the partnership with Microsoft seems to change that, so in that sense it is an improvement.

Borders closing doesn't imply that all brick bookstores will die eventually, IMO.  Borders was badly managed from a high level (as shown by the really stupid bid to buy B&N), was too late to the web and e-books and didn't make the transition well (B&N did both early enough and well enough, though they still have strides to make), opened too many stores that tried to be too trendy in places with very high rent, over invested in music and movies and then over-priced them, created an irresponsible level of debt, and created an unworkable inventory management system that locked indie choices out of their stores.

Being in the book industry for a while, I still follow the trends and have seen several successes and failures, and a lot of the reasons behind them.  Being a brick and mortar store has never been the wrong step to take, even now.  It's just the failure to pay attention to trends and adapt to them.  It's pretty much the same for all retailers- and many of them are taking the wrong steps currently.  This has nothing at all to do with having a physical presence, and a lot to do with not knowing your competitors and your customers, and not offering people a reason to buy from you.  Borders was always busy, but the people were looking, not buying.

Update: Added a few reference links

http://moneyland.time.com...what-will-take-its-place/
http://www.businessinsura...ons-borders-went-bye-bye/
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Renegade
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 09:10:26 AM »

Has "choose your own adventure" made it into ebooks? Seems like a ripe area for some really cool stuff as it would be SOOOOO easy to expand on that idea of a guided story in software.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 09:32:15 AM »

Checked - they have books for iPad/Phone. Haven't seen them though.

I think REAL software to have puzzles and games in a book that "make" decisions would be fantastic. e.g. Shoot your way through an asteroid maze to your chosen destination.
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wraith808
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 10:29:33 AM »

Another good option for the interactive books is Frotz, a z-machine interpreter, like used in the Infocom games.
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Renegade
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2012, 10:33:27 AM »

Another good option for the interactive books is Frotz, a z-machine interpreter, like used in the Infocom games.

s... o... teric. smiley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-machine

But very cool! smiley
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wraith808
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2012, 12:30:17 PM »

Oh ... I forget how old things are smiley 

Infocomw used to be an interactive fiction maker that made purely text adventure games for computers.  They have some classics with some truly great writing and great puzzles mixed into an insanely frustrating but incredibly entertaining and rewarding experience.

Their works include Enchanter, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, Wishbringer and of course the series that started everything Zork I, Zork II, and Zork III.  There are several others... my favorites are Wishbringer, Starfall, and Planetfall.
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app103
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2012, 02:54:15 AM »

Mouser created an interactive audio story game engine, way back in NANY 2007, and was quite upset that nobody ever recorded any MP3 stories for it, other than Della's, which was included with the app as a demo.

You could say it's the "audiobook" version of the "choose your own adventure" genre.
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Renegade
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2012, 03:17:19 AM »

Mouser created an interactive audio story game engine, way back in NANY 2007, and was quite upset that nobody ever recorded any MP3 stories for it, other than Della's, which was included with the app as a demo.

You could say it's the "audiobook" version of the "choose your own adventure" genre.

I just checked it out. Looks like a good start, but the authoring seems a bit difficult for some people (needing to get your hands dirty in XML). It would do well to have an actual authoring tool go with it. Yeah, I know. The authoring tool would be a lot more work than the player itself. Been there done that.

But it does seem to be on the right track. Voice recognition would be very cool, and even possible as you'd only need to recognize a very small number of words, e.g. a, b, c, or 1, 2, 3, etc. You wouldn't need one of those horribly expensive services that are web based, slow, and prone to breaking with poor connections, etc. (I've seen some engine that can be stand alone -- forgetting the name right now.)
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app103
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« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2012, 02:03:34 AM »

Thanks to this post by 40hz, I discovered a treasure trove of free children's ebooks available in your choice of a plethora of formats, including Kindle.

Almost all of them are very old and in the public domain. Some great classics in there, along with a lot I never heard of.

When I was a kid, I loved old books. Give me some ancient reading textbook (at least 3 grades above me) or an antique bird watcher's guide and I'd be much happier than with the newer stuff the other kids were reading. I devoured antique fairytale books and things you can no longer find in most public libraries. I think this site is about as close as you are going to get to reproducing that kind of experience for your children, in ebook form.

And while it is not listed in the Young Readers section, you can start with this one: http://manybooks.net/titl...malothec2769027690-8.html

I remember eye balling that book on the top shelf for months, then finally making the librarian climb a ladder to get it down for me. I had the privilege of being able to take home and read a first edition copy of that book when I was about 9 years old. I loved the book so much.  Kiss

Also made the librarian go fetch this one, right after (an earlier book by the same author): http://manybooks.net/titl...malothec2510225102-8.html

Again, I got to take home a first edition copy.  Kiss
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daddydave
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2012, 07:11:26 PM »

Thanks for all the suggestions, I will use all of them! I am currently leaning toward a Nook SimpleTouch since it supports both ePub and PDF (Barnes and Noble is selling the $99 one on ebay for $60)

And found this (and assuming most of these are free or cheap on Nook as well):
http://www.goodreads.com/...ndle_Ebooks_for_Children_
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wraith808
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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2012, 10:29:37 PM »

I will say, that the thing I like more about the kindle as compared to the nook is that your account supports anything you send to it, so you don't have the whole syncing thing to get non-kindle books on it.  That said, like you said it doesn't support epub and the Nook does.  Calibre is apparently good enough to make up for that, though I've never used it with my daughter's Nook.
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