Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kids Will Be Getting iPads & Kindles & eBook Readers By the Sleigh-Load And Discovering The Free eBook Bestseller Lists Are Naughty and Nice--Sometimes Very Naughty, Often Very Nice

By Tom Dulaney, Editor

With iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones, Galaxys and Kindles heading for berths beneath Christmas trees this month, "Bestseller Street"--the Bestseller Lists--in all of the ebook stores should be very crowded come December 25.

This holiday season features eBooks and eBook reading devices as hot items high on the wish lists of grownups and kids alike. Plenty of of kids will be getting their iPads, Kindles, iPhones and iPod Touches, Galaxys and other tablets. 

And untold numbers of of them will electronically head for the biggest eBook seller of them all:  Amazon's Kindle Store.

Kids by the thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands, will take a virtual walk down Bestseller Street in the Kindle Store to browse the top of the lists in both paid books and free books. Amazon conveniently shows the lists side by side., the undisputed leader ebook seller, with over 760,000 ebook titles available at the touch of a finger, will undoubtedly be the most-visited ebookstore of them all.

All ebook store bestseller lists should be visited by parents first.  The Kindle bestseller list is where parents might want to precede their kids. The free book list is a hodgepodge of great classics from the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, new promotional giveaways by bestselling authors like Jeffrey Deaver and James Patterson, inspirational thrillers by respected authors like Terri Blackstock and Bill Myers, and—well--many would call them smut or porn by authors whose names are not household words.

Free ebooks abound in Amazon's Kindle Store, and the kids can delight to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes for free, No. 3 on the list at the moment. (The lists update hourly, and titles slide up and down dramatically from hour to hour.)

The children might discover, for free, the literature of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, now No. 7 on the Kindle bestseller list of free books.

Dickens' got a media boost this week when Oprah announced his Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, in a new edition from Penguin, as her Book Club's 65th title. It's No. 74 on the Kindle bestseller list of paid books right now.

Both titles are also available, for free, in the Kindle Store: Great Expectations is now No. 13 on the free list,  And A Tale of Two Cities resides at No. 27 on the free side of the stree.

But the kids might just as easily discover My Christmas Wish, by Ember Case. Wish is a steamy “contemporary romance,” according to the categories and sub-categories under which the book is ranked as No. 2 at the moment. The book's “product description” carries this note: “Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, second chances, making up for lost time with a sexy Cajun, and Christmas wishes that might really come true.”

A Tale of Two Cities, No. 27  has as a next door neightbor at No. 28 Snowy Night Seduction. 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version at No. 25, is free on the list.  Right next door at No. 26 is Jan Watson's Troublesome Creek, winner of the Christian Writers' Guild Operation First Novel award which spawned the Troublesome Creek series.  The book is in a good neighborhood, with A Tale of Two Cities next door at No. 27, but things change at No. 28 with Snowy Night Seduction.

Down the block, the neighbors are even more—uh—boistrous. AT No. 33 is Holiday Bound. It's description says:  "There’s no escape in sight. But as Alex stirs her secret longing to be mastered by a man, escape is the last thing on her mind…Warning: This book contains scenes of sensual submission hot enough to make you sweat in a blizzard."

The block is a lot more kid-friendly “uptown” toward the top of the list.

Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts from NavPress, lives at No. 5 at the moment. NavPress is the imprint of The Navigators, a "para-church organization."

Bestselling and well-respected author Terri Blackstock's Last Light  is at No. 9.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, always in the Top 100 in the Kindle Free Store, today is staying at No. 3.  Jane Austen's beloved  Pride and Prejudice is No. 6.

But the neighborhood changes by the hour, and the single-digit addresses may turn up the good, the bad, or the raw at the turn of the hour.

Parents confronted with yet another challenge to keeping their kids safe in the net-connected digital world might echo the words of Thomas Paine:  “These are the times that try men's souls,” he wrote in No. 36, Common Sense, the pamphlet that energized American patriots to battle England on our home soil to win independence.

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