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Huge rise in sales of e-books targeting children

Sales of e-books aimed at children reached 2.6m between January and June this year, new figures released by the Publishers Association (PA) have revealed.

The equivalent figure for the same half year period in 2011 was just one million.

Sales of physical books aimed at children, meanwhile, were reported to have declined over the course of 2011 by seven per cent, when compared with figures for 2010.

As well as being influenced by a trend – identified by many retail experts – of parents buying children their own Kindle, the increase in the sales of e-books has also been attributed to improvements in the user interface of many electronic reading devices.

PA Chief Executive Richard Mollett has pointed to the introduction of ‘flowable text’ – whereby words and pictures are able to adapt themselves to be more easily viewed on different types of screen – as being a significant factor in encouraging increased sales of e-books.

Meanwhile, Nathan Maharaj, Merchandising Director for one of Kindle’s market rivals, Kobo, has said that increases in the colour and complexity of images in e-books have also driven the increased popularity of children’s books in this market.

Commenting on the implications of the figures for the future of literature sales, Managing Director of children’s publisher Hot Key Books, Sarah Odedina, said:

“It is entirely possible that people will be more used to reading from a screen than a page.”

Meanwhile, a study by Ipsos MORI has revealed that nearly half of parents think gadgets such as Kindles and iPads incentivise children to increase the amount they read.

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