Earlier this week I did a bit of adding up in my head and thought 'I must be close to 100,000 downloads from Amazon'. I then did some adding up on a calculator and the total came to over 103,000 for The Secret City. I feel very calm about this because although it's a large number I know I've got a long way to go before the Burly & Grum books are taken seriously in the children's book market, which is probably the most competitive in the publishing industry. I feel as though I'm standing at the edge of an exciting adventure and now have to take braver and scarier steps if I want to establish myself in any way. The publishing industry does not take prisoners!
I have been looking at the itinerary for the Bologna Children's Book Fair and it is absolutely fascinating. I'd love to be there! Today, for example, the subject is Tools of Change for Publishing - The Art, Craft & Business of Digital Content for Kids. Engaging children in this digital world is challenging, fascinating, exciting - more and more opportunities are opening up to make reading more accessible to every child. Having worked for the charity Mencap and supported those with learning disabilities I think the expansion of reading material from print to ipads etc will be immensely helpful to those who need more encouragement. A British company, Nosy Crow, is leading the way with apps and has already won many awards. Transforming a story into an app does not detract from it, but can enhance the experience of reading and children love the interaction. The future of children's literature is very exciting!
Having said that, I don't think that the print book will ever disappear as some people fear. Taking the time to read books to your children builds strong bonds and instills a love of literature. I simply could not imagine a world without print books for children.
There's a place for both digital books and print books in this world and I'm looking forward seeing how they develop side by side in the future.
Meanwhile, back to the 100,000 downloads, I'm going to give myself and Rob (Burly & Grum's artist), a tiny pat on the back; last year I didn't even know what a Kindle was (and I'm not sure Rob did either!) - I wonder what we'll have learnt and achieved by this time next year?