Posted by Tom on Mar 13, 2013
Hot on the heels of Vulgar the Viking and the Terrible Talent Show, today we have our SECOND Kindle Daily Deal, with Christopher Edge’s fantastic Shadows of the Silver Screen – the second book in the Twelve Minutes to Midnight trilogy. You can buy the Kindle editon, just 99p for today only, here.
The year is 1900, and in Shadows of the Silver Screen, a mysterious filmmaker approaches The Penny Dreadful with a proposal to turn Montgomery Flinch’s sinister stories into motion pictures. With Monty installed as the star of his production, filming begins but is plagued by a series of strange and frightening events. As Monty pleads with Penny to help him, she is drawn into the mystery, but soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare penned by her own hand. Can Penny uncover the filmmaker’s dark secret before it’s too late?
An absolute must for fans of Philip Reeve, Marcus Sedgwick and Anthony Horowitz, The Telegraph called Shadows of the Silver Screen “a serious (and playful) intelligent historical thriller for children.” You can read the first chapter for free below, or explore the series from the start with Twelve Minutes to Midnight, here.
Here’s the 99p Kindle edition of Shadows of the Silver Screen – if you prefer ink and paper, you can also find the book in paperback, here.
Posted by Kate on Sep 24, 2012
At the weekend, I read this blog post by a reader who finds books on her Kindle less compelling than printed books… so she finds she has a lot of unread stuff on her Kindle as she’s distracted by the print titles she has to hand.
I rather hesitate to admit it, but I think that perhaps I feel the same. Regular readers of this blog may vaguely remember a blog post I wrote in summer 2011. It was really about Frances Spufford’s engaging and clever book, The Child That Books Built, but the post was illustrated with a photograph of the 33 print books (and we had two Kindles and an iPad too) that we had, as a family of four, taken on holiday. That holiday, I read a lot.
But this year when we went on holiday, while the children did bring print books, Adrian and I brought a single paperback each and a Kindle each. The result? We read for pleasure much, much less (and we worked much more) than we had the previous year. Somehow, not having the shelf of books catching your eye in the holiday cottage made reading for pleasure less of a temptation. And we hadn’t gone through that process of selecting and buying books especially for the holiday: we’d chosen the cottage in part because it had Wi-Fi so we knew that we could download anything to the Kindle whenever we wanted to. But somehow, we never did want to: there was always an email to answer or a blog-post to write or an article or manuscript to read (of course, reading manuscripts is reading too, but it’s not reading for pleasure). I hadn’t sort of committed to any books before I left for the holiday, and that meant I read less.
In the course of the holiday, I started a couple of ebooks, but I have to admit that the only book I finished was the print one, which was Thinking Fast and Slow as it happens. It’s actually a good example of the kind of book I’d only buy in print form. I have had bad experiences of buying the kind of books that require tables and diagrams or pictures or columns (as Thinking Fast and Slow does) in ebook form, and now I never take the risk: it annoys and baffles me that publishers make available ebook versions of books as varied as Guy Deutcher’s The Unfolding of Language or Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle’s Down With Skool that are, in parts at least, unreadable. Sorry – tangential grouch over.
I don’t dislike reading ebooks, and there are places – public transport, for example – when I really only read books now on my phone or my Kindle. And of course I understand – and speak publicly about – all the advantages of ereading, But I don’t seem to find ebooks as tempting as print books. Is it just because I can’t see them? But I am “tempted” equally by chocolate “hidden” in the fridge and chocolate on my desk, so I don’t think it can be that simple.
You may, rightly, think that I am knocking on a bit, so I might be struggling to adjust to reading ebooks. I don’t think that’s the issue. But, in any event, I asked my elder child, who’s 13 and who has a Kindle (she got one for Christmas 2011: she really wanted one), why she preferred to read print books rather than ebooks (and she manifestly does). She said, “I don’t feel that ebooks are ‘mine’ in the same way that print books are: reading ebooks is like having a library card with Amazon. I read before I go to sleep and I put the (print) book under my pillow, but I’d be worried about crushing the Kindle if I did that to the Kindle. I like seeing how books are presented – what the jackets are like – particularly through time. For example, I like comparing my Folio edition of Bleak House with the paperback I have. Then there are books that you can’t get in ebook form at all, like The Gruffalo. And you can’t browse in Amazon like you can browse in a bookshop.” I asked if she ever thought that she might see a book in print form in a book shop and then order it on Amazon. She wasn’t aware that she could do this, but she didn’t seem gripped by the idea.
I’m aware that it’s odd that a strong advocate for reading digitally (particularly enabling children to have compelling reading experiences on tablet devices), should be a bit draggy-feet-y when it comes to ereading myself, but the Fluttering Butterflies blog post about the draw of print books relative to the draw of ebooks did chime with me, so I thought I would be honest.
This is my experience. What’s yours?
Posted by Kate on Nov 23, 2011
I had a bit of a dust-up in Brazil with a well-known Argentinian writer, Alberto Manguel, who is the strongest possible advocate of print over digital reading.
My views have also been contrasted with those of Julia Donaldson, another strong defender of the primacy of print.
These are just two of many, many instances when I, or others of us at Nosy Crow, have defended digital, as opposed to print, reading for children.
So we were interested to see this article in the New York Times last weekend which suggests that adults who have discarded print in favour of their Kindles or Nooks still prefer traditional print books for their children.
We don’t see the choice between digital and print reading as an either/or scenario. Instead, we think that some reading experiences suit the page, while others are right for digital devices.
We aren’t very interested in creating digital reading experiences that are simply squashing an existing illustrated book onto a phone or a tablet.
Like some of the parents in the article, we agree that there is something special about paper – the touch and feel of it, the heft and three-dimensionality of it, and the size of the page – that means that reading a picture book, or a pop-up book, a lift-the-flap or a touch-and-feel book is a great experience. And there are many print picture books, pop-up books, lift-the-flap and touch-and-feel books in our existing and forthcoming book publishing plans
But we are also very aware that children spend increasing amounts of time using screens. We would like some of the time that they spend using those screens to be reading time. But that means, I think, that the reading experience we offer on screen needs to be as multimedia and interactive as the gaming experiences they will encounter in the same space.
What we want to avoid is creating disappointing screen-based reading experiences for children whose expectations of the interactivity of a screen-based device are formed very early, as the maker of this video showing a French baby who seems to think that a magazine is a broken iPad suggests. (The guy who posted the video was a Skype guest at Dust or Magic and he said that his child does not mistake children’s books for broken iPads.)
I take our responsibility as people with decades – in my case 25 years – of experience of telling stories on paper very seriously. I think that we should be bringing that experience – and adapting it and building on it too, of course, as we learn new skills and bring new skills, such as games devising and programming skills into publishing – to screen-based story-telling. If we don’t create really engaging reading experiences for children who will spend increasing amounts of their leisure time on screen, I think we are failing them.
And it’s that wish to create really engaging, multimedia, interactive iPad experiences that are also, crucially, reading experiences, that is behind apps such as The Three Little Pigs and Cinderella.
But what do you think?