Are books really dead?

March 21, 2011 at 10:35 am | Posted in Book reviews, Education, Educators, Librarians, Publishing your story, Uncategorized, Writing | 1 Comment

I am always looking for the next book to read. One night I took a business book off my shelf called Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte. Just getting through his introduction was a shocker.

“Early in the next millennium your right and left cuff links or earrings may communicate with each other by low-orbiting satellites and have more computer power than your present PC…the digital planet will look and feel like the head of a pin.

As we interconnect ourselves, many of the values of a nation-state will give way to those of both larger and smaller electronic communities. We will socialize in digital neighborhoods in which physical space will be irrelevant and time will play a different roll.”

This was published in 1995…sixteen years ago.

 I was so fascinated by rereading Negroponte’s book I went online to see what other pronunciations he may suggest. And there it was… “The physical book will be dead in five years.” He shared this bombshell at the August 6, 2010 Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA.  

Over the past three years, I have worked with author Gloria Smith Zawaski, publishing our first children’s book called The Trunk in the Attic. We are about to print our second book in the series called Mongolia Bound. Our purpose is to introduce kids to other kids around the world, first Holland and now Mongolia. The series helps kids learn from other kids’ adventures. But I now think I have to consider another way of delivering the information, one that will be meaningful to this new generation of youngsters who may no longer use books as I did.

 This revelation really hit me when Eliot and Amy took to me to this huge used book warehouse in Washington, DC.   I looked at the 1,000s of books surrounding me and realized that I was looking at the death of an industry as I know it.  

It’s time to embrace the new ways and see how to make this online system of sharing information and books a more encompassing way of learning.

 For someone like me who loves books and the written word, catching up is not going to be easy. Not only do I have to stop thinking linearly but have to learn new skills. Who will I turn to in order to learn how the new computer widgets work?

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Free books for teachers!

July 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading | Leave a comment
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You heard that right. When Hudson Valley teachers download the Teacher’s Resource Guide they are entitled to free copies of The Trunk in the Attic for their students. Find out the details here.

Story Starters

May 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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Throughout the past year we have written a lot of blogs on how to  encourage writing in children and we have found excellent resources from teachers and educational blogs. Well, we found another one! Here is a great idea for a child who has a hard time beginning a story. (Introductions are always my hardest part to start too.) These story starter activities are more like games, so they are fun as well as education! If you try any of them, please let us know how it went!

Local Bookmaking Workshop!

April 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment
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Here at the Exciting Read Publishing Group we always love when we hear stories about story telling, bookmaking, reading, and writing workshops for children. It’s exciting to know that there are groups that support creative projects. The Children’s Media Project located in Poughkeepsie, will be hosting a free storytelling and bookmaking workshop for children on Saturday, May 1st or June 12th at the Lady Washington Firehouse in Poughkeepsie. Stop by from 1pm-3pm and children can write their own stories! Children’s Media Project (CMP) is a non-profit arts and education organization with a history of empowering “at-risk” youth through the media arts. CMP believes in making a social investment for community transformation by providing access to the skills and tools necessary for creation and appreciation of media as art, as education, and as entrepreneurship. The CMP’s programs encourage youth to not only explore the world around them, but to also be active participants. CMP provides workshops, programs, and projects for youth, artists, and educators that teach critical viewing of the media, that encourage youth to be creatively engaged in using the media to deliver important messages, and that offer employment and growth opportunities for youth. Enjoy!

New writing games to share

April 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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I hope that those out there who read this blog, have learned about some great activities that you can use in and outside the classroom. Reading and writing is fun and all you have to do is make a game out it! Here are some more ideas that may inspire your children to read and write:

  • Before beginning a creative writing activity, sitthe children down in a circle and start a story with a fun, silly sentence. Each child in the circle needs to continue the story with one more sentence. You could appoint one child to record the story. After creating this silly, group story, the children will be ready for creative writing.
  • Make three boxes with ideas plot elements. One box should have story starters, another box should have ideas for the middle and the third box should have endings. Ask the children to pick one slip from each box and write a story linking the ideas together. Children will love the random elements of this activity.
  • Enjoy and keep reading for more ideas and activities!

    Katie, Jake and Cooper Love Photoshoots

    April 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Education, Mystery books | Leave a comment
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    Come on out to the Poughkeepsie Galleria this Sunday for Hudson Valley Parent’s Annual Cover Kid Event. There is going to be a free concert, games, crafts and best of all Katie, Jake and Cooper will be stop by to visit! If you want to meet them or learn more about the Undercover Kids book series stop by and visit us. Gloria may even be there to sign books. Hope to see you there, the event starts at 11am and ends at 3pm.

    Kindle in the classroom?

    March 24, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parent Teacher Groups, Parents | Leave a comment
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    Electronic books (eBooks) are becoming more affordable and with devices like the Kindle, Nook, and now the iPad, ebooks are also becoming more practical (as well as environmentally friendly as they save paper.) This trend is predicted to move full-scale into the college scene within the next 2-3 years. Do you see eBooks coming into elementary schools, jr. high’s or high schools too? When I was younger I loved nothing more than cuddling up on a rainy day with a new book and flip through the changes. And, what does this mean for libraries? Will you rent a computer chip instead of an actual book? I see both pluses and minuses to using eBooks, I don’t know what side I’m on yet. If you are a teacher, would you use eBooks in your classroom? What about if you just want to try an eBook for fun, would you get rid of all your books? As you can see, I am torn on the subject!

    Does your school have a reading program?

    March 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading | Leave a comment
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    When I was in elementary school (wasn’t that long ago, I swear) we had a fun reading program called B.E.A.R., which I believe stood for “Be Excited About Reading.” I think B.E.A.R. is still around and that makes me happy. The goal of B.E.A.R. was to get  children excited and enthusiastic about reading. Pretty simple. My class would hold reading competitions to see how many books you could read and then you could win a prize. I don’t know about making book reading a competition, but i do know that I loved reading a new book and that has stayed with me to this day. I don’t know where I would be without books and I know that my love for them started early. What about your school? Do you have any special reading programs? Maybe The Undercover Kids could be the next book you read for school or for fun!

    How a book is born: The independent book stores

    February 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Education, Fundraising, Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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    Looking for distribution that gets your books into the hands of kids while earning you money? That’s the ultimate challenge.

    I downloaded a list of independent bookstores from the web. They all specialize in children’s books. But will that work?

    Studies show that:

    1.  Fewer people are reading
    2.  Online services are ruining  brick and mortar stores
    3.  Book readers like the Kindle, are making printed material obsolete.

    The statistics are against me, but I was going to plow forward. Based on what is going on in the book industry, my independent search results were not surprising. First, I started by calling stores in New York State where I am located. Some were too small to do any volume and others were not quite making it. Others were only interested in purchasing from national distributors.  And still others would carry  but only if they get 65% of the sales price. Plus I have to pay for shipping the books to the store and the shipping for returns.

    At this point, I only have three local stories who have agreed to carry the book. I will use their logo in my local advertising to encourage people to go to their stories to buy.

    Personally, I think our one book will get lost on the shelf and is not worth the investment.

    I have also placed our book on Amazon.com. They sold ten books in the last six months. I will also look into Barnes and Noble online. I have placed my book on Amazon not because I thought it was a great distribution stream but it gives us credibility. I found that some online book reviewers will only review the book if you are on at least one of the online booksellers. (Does that include Wal-Mart…only a joke.)

    It does take work to make your book stand out. If bookstores or the online booksellers are not the best distribution stream, then what’s next?

    Favorite Snow Day Book?

    February 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Posted in about life, Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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    With winter still hanging around I recently started thinking about my favorite winter activity: reading. Do you have a favorite book that you like to read on the snow day? I like to read a good scary story even though Halloween is long gone. With the snow falling outside, everything is grey and dark and it’s nice to cuddle up with a good read. I always make some hot chocolate too. What about you? What do you like to read? Leave a comment and tell us and don’t forget to keep reading!

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