New York Times / December 15 2010 / Julie Bosman
Millions of consumers have embraced black-and-white e-readers like the Kindle for reading simple novels or nonfiction — but books with color illustrations have generally remained better read in print.
Now publishers are making headway in converting their enormous libraries of illustrated titles to e-books, hoping to capitalize on the growing popularity of the Apple iPad and the Nook Color and their ability to showcase books with color photographs and illustrations.
Apple said Tuesday that it was set to make a major push into illustrated books on Wednesday, introducing more than 100 titles to its iBookstore, an assortment of children’s books, photography books and cookbooks.
Publishers have been eager to sell illustrated books in digital form, particularly picture books for children, since they could eventually become a significant additional source of revenue.
Jon Anderson, the publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, said the publishing house had been “itching to do it since e-books became possible,” but there were always limitations because the books were in color.
The iPad and the Nook Color are two of the newest devices that have opened up possibilities for publishers who are converting their illustrated books into e-books, but industry experts have predicted that more devices will become available.
Many iPad users, seeing the potential for the device to be used as an educational tool, have been clamoring for digital children’s books to be available in greater numbers.
Other publishers whose books will be featured in the iBookstore include HarperCollins, Disney Publishing, the Hachette Book Group, Macmillan and Workman Publishing, Apple said.
The titles published by HarperCollins, including books in the “Amelia Bedelia” and “Fancy Nancy” series, have been available on the Nook Color for about a month. They are the first picture books the publisher has made available digitally.
Some publishers have also had success breaking into the digital space by turning books into applications for mobile devices. Disney Publishing says it has reached one million downloads of its book apps, ...