Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Of Thee I Sing: Letters to My Daughters Ebook: In the Kindle Store at Amazon; NOT in Apple's iBook Store (At Least So Far)

Loren Long's beautiful illustrations leap off the iPad screen in Barack Obama's Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters, released today in bookstores across the nation, as an ebook in the Amazon Kindle Store, and – surprisingly – not in the Apple iBooks store. At least it wasn't in the iStore for pre-order (as in the Kindle Store), and not in the iStore Tuesday morning.

"Have I told you how wonderful you are?" the author asks, beginning the story with tender and fatherly words expressing love.  A series of questions, such as "Have I told you that you are creative?" lead to illustrations--visual and verbal--of an exemplary American.
Here's the book description on its Amazon page:

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.

This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation’s founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.

Proceeds of the book's sale go to a scholarship fund for fallen and disabled soldiers. The ebook costs $8.54 in the Kindle Store, and $8.99 as a hardcover from Amazon.  The suggested retail price is $17.99.

Some 500,000 copies of the book on paper are printed and ready to purchase.  By mid-morning today, the count of pre-orders delivered overnight by Amazon plus new sales had pushed the book up to the 711th spot in the Amazon sales rankings.

The iPad is a wonderful ebook reader for kids books, beautifully displaying the illustrations kids and parents love so well.  Of Thee I Sing, besides being a sweet kids book, illustrates the current state of affairs and differences between the two top ebook reading device makers and--quite a separate issue--the differences between the ebook stores run by Amazon and Apple.

The iPad gets the high marks for displaying the book in all of its illustrated color glory.  And Amazon wins the medal for having the ebook ready for pre-order in advance, delivering it in the wee hours electronically, and having it up and ready to zap for new buyers on the day of the official release.

Though the iPad does feature that big screen, many readers must be asking themselves if they really need two “bookshelves” in that screen space, two separate apps each holding two separate personal libraries of books, operating is two differing reading “ambiances.”

With absences of such an iPad-friendly, illustration-rich book kids book by a relatively well known current President and alleged Most Powerful Man in the World, it's little wonder that more iPad owners buy books from Amazon for their iPad, using the Kindle for iPad app, than buy from the “local” iBook store.

Of Thee I Sing, in this reviewer's eyes, is a charmer of a little book any Dad might love to share with his kids, especially his little girls. At 40 pages, it's a quick read but, on the sofa with a fire crackling in the hearth, it's a longer experience for Dads and kids who share the tender words of encouragement and admire the images. Thirteen examples from America's culture, from Einstein to George Washington, exemplify each question posed by Obama writing as daddy.

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