So that got me thinking, just how many Kindle books are there for infants. A quick check and there's ~1400. Wow. I was a bit surprised by that, granted, there might well be a fair number of mislabels, such as I noted above when searching for the robot stories, but a quick glance through the first few pages reveal them to be reasonably accurate, such as the classic Pokey Little Puppy. Sure, I expect the Maximum Ride series is not appropriate for an infant, and nor likely is Artemis Fowl, but on the whole, there seems to be quite a lot of books there that are appropriate for the infant through toddler age. I was impressed.
I also checked out how many are there for the 4-8 year old crowd. About 4100 was the answer, which is a nice amount, and seems to have a pretty broad selection of books. I was, once again, impressed.
All of this got me thinking, however, what would be a reasonable age to give a child their own ereader? I considered the possibility of getting my old K1 repaired, as far as I can tell it's just a bad screen, but the cost was too high to justify it, sadly. If I did, I'd consider giving it to the Little Man. He simply devours books, and I'm thinking I can get him to master the kindle reader basics if I can just convince him that it's not a touch screen. Of course, he's not too used to books yet that don't have a picture on every single page, but my wife and I were discussing recently if it might not be time to start easing him into chapter books in any case. I have to admit, it would be nice to take some advantage of ebooks and let him discover books at his own pace. Of course, I'd want to be able to control what books go into his library. Hmm...that might be a feature Amazon could implement, a child saftey lock much like my TiVO has, so that I could let him have a device but prevent him from just downloading anything on the account. Frankly that wouldn't be too hard if I had a wifi only device, and just didn't configure it for the home network. By the time he was old enough to figure that out on his own, I probably wouldn't be too worried about what he's reading.
But that's just it, I'm not likely to drop $100 or so on a device for a child who might just stand on the thing....because. It's one of the reasons I really want to see the e-ink screens continue to come out, and to continue to fall in price. Get me something below $50, and I just might buy one for him. In the short term, I've been toying with the plan to reburn a PC for him, give him his own system to start using. And if I do, I'll probably put the Kindle App on that PC, and pre-load it with some age appropriate books. I'll have to see if there's a way to lock down the app so he can't just pull in any book from our account he wants. I'd rather have a bit more control until he's old enough.
So what about you, would you give your child an ebook reader? (and by child I mean someone younger than a teen). Do you have kids that read ebooks already?