As much as children judge books by their covers they also decide whether they want to read titles by seeing and feeling the thickness of the book and looking at the size of the font. Some kids find the sheer size of titles overwhelming and daunting. The ‘problems’ with large thick books are these: if hardcover, then the book weighs a ton, if paperback, then after a few weeks of being pulled in and out of backpacks the covers end up dog eared and the spines weak. The thickness of the book often means that to hold it open and read comfortably you have to press it reasonably flat, thereby causing the pages to ultimately fall out of the cover. If the book is printed in a smaller font then you end up with text so small that it makes it exhausting to read. No matter how great and wonderful the story, for a reluctant reader the size is going to be off-putting.
I really identified with the students that turn up their noses at big fat books today, when I decided to buy a copy of Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
My children haven’t read this book and neither have I. I should be familiar with the size of it as at least two of my teachers are always recommending this book to their students. They have read and loved it and I wanted to see what I thought of it and whether it is the sort of fantasy book I would be happy to recommend to students (I really believe that in order to recommend books you have to be totally familiar with them and reading them is the only way!) This book and it’s sequels are perennially popular in my school library. Copies of the first book especially, are always out on loan and due to the size of the book they can never be returned by the due date (all our copies are out at the moment and we usually have at least two reserves for book 1…resulting in the need for me to buy my own!)
Happily browsing in the book store I glanced down and saw the copies of Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance. Unfortunately they were the variety I dislike – smaller sized paperback but still very thick, with thin covers and a teeny weeny font size. The book store didn’t have it, but I believe there is also a deluxe edition of three of these books in one volume. Surely this would be much too big to handle? This is where given a of choice between print and digital I will opt for buying the ebook version every single time. With an ebook I can make the text larger as necessary, if I find myself unable to put the book down I can read late into the night with a backlit screen without annoying my husband. If I need a break from reading it, I can bookmark the page and come back to it later without worrying about the overdue date at the library. For my family I find it easiest to buy children’s ebooks from the Kindle store -that way we can share the Kindle account between our devices.
I want to love these stories and I am sure I will when I read them!
My school is looking at how we will provide ebooks in our library and I have been looking at popular titles and their availability in epub format. Let’s just say that these 4 books are at the top of my list! In the meantime if you are considering a book for your child that is on the hefty side – consider buying the ebook instead. There may be a greater chance of it being finished without pressure.