Monday, August 24, 2009

Change is good, says the book publicist.

Change is good, says this book publicist and self-admitted kids' book fanatic.

I love kids' books and young adult novels. I really, really love them. You know the old question about which three books you'd bring with you to a deserted island? That's a no-brainer for me. I'd choose Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Author's Day by Daniel Pinkwater, and A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. And, if I had any leftover room in my luggage, I'd grab copies of anything by Judy Blume and stuff more Pinkwater inside, too -- as much as I could fit. Then I'd round out the suitcase with E.B. White, Margaret Wise Brown, Beverly Cleary, Dr. Seuss, and all the Curious George books.

And then I'd be depressed that I'd left behind so many of my favorite books, but what can you do? A deserted island is only big enough to hold so many books. An ebook reader, on the other hand, can hold gazillions of books, and that's why I was so tickled to read this Publishers Weekly item about ScrollMotion, a new children's ebook reader application for the iPhone.

Granted, there's nothing like holding a hard copy of The Runaway Bunny or The Cat in the Hat in your hands as you're drifting off to sleep (or trying to put your felines to bed for the night so they won't tear up the place trying to catch Martians, or whatever it is they do). But, as a book promotion specialist and publishing industry professional, I'm eager to see what the next wave of kids' books will be like. Will you be able to play games related to an adventurous monkey when you're finished reading Curious George? Will you be able to help Charlotte the spider decide which words might best be incorporated into her web to help Wilbur the pig? I hope so (it sure beats counting on Templeton the Rat to figure it out).

Anyway, book publicists, authors, editors, and even fortune tellers can't know what the publishing industry will look like in five years. Perhaps we'll all be reading books on Kindles; maybe we'll all be getting our kids' book fix on iPhones; or maybe all the ebook commotion will go away and we'll be back to focusing on plain old, if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it books.

Who knows? But, while the future of book publishing is figuring itself out, I think that all book lovers -- and, yes, that includes book publicists like me -- should feel excited about the potential of doing more with books than simply reading them.

And, of course, doing far more with books than just stuffing as many of them as possible into a suitcase and bringing them to a deserted island.

Although I maintain that a deserted island that's populated with my favorite kids' book authors and YA authors isn't deserted at all.