However hard I try to offer a balanced perspective on this market, I find myself once again back at Amazon, heaping praise on them.
This weekend saw the launch of their first UK TV ad. Which is a minor triumph in itself. There are only so many Kindle ads with shiny happy Americans in bikinis us Brits can stomach.
The ad aired in the Xfactor break, thus capturing huge numbers of UK families. As you can see, the ad focuses on children. As far as I know the first to do so. And to clarify, it focuses on children reading. And the joy of reading. There is no mention of ebooks, Kindles, digital or the price, just 52 seconds of children describing their relationship with books.
The cleverness is that Amazon has gone back to basics and asked why children read. With a message not confused by devices, gadgets or formats.
Every line delivered by children serving two purposes, one to connect the message with other children watching the ad, the other to engage with parents and overcome some of their resistance to their children reading ebooks. As one of the children says, 'just a book.'
I don't think we can underestimate the importance of this ad. Amazon are taking the children's market seriously. So must we all. This may prove to be a turning point in what has been a challenging area of publishing. Every children's publisher should be feeling very positive today as a consequence of this ad. Children's ebooks are about to go boom.
The ad transcribed:-
When I'm reading a book it's like I'm on another planet, I'm oblivious to everything else.
Sometimes I imagine myself as a character in the books.
The story describes what the characters look like, talk like, feel like.
I like the characters that can be mischevious, but funny at the same time, which is a good talent.
In your head you think of it, you imagine, it helps you believe. You have to believe the story is true.
I just become part of the book, I don't do it on purpose, I just do it naturally.
Sometimes I just giggle to myself. People ask me what I'm laughing at. I'm like - just a book.
Enough to make every parent's heart sing. Clever old Amazon.