Best Tablets for Kids Books
According to a new study by Pew Research, ownership of tablet and e-book devices doubled over the holidays, now with one in four American homes. Given the popularity of the iPhone (and touchscreens in general) with young kids, no doubt new iPads, Kindle Fire and NOOK devices are purchased with them in mind. And though the experience of reading a novel on all three might be similar, kids content that relies on images and sound varies wildly on these devices. Here’s how they stack up.
Kindle Fire ($199 on Amazon.com)
Because the Fire has a color screen, it’s the first time an Amazon device can do picture books. Amazon does have a huge selection of children’s e-books, but many aren't optimized for this latest Kindle. The formatting can be poor and inconsistent, with no option to zoom and pinch, or even to hear the story read aloud. At very least, make sure books you purchase are designed especially for the Kindle Fire. At the moment, none of the kids' books available through Amazon include the interactivity included on e-books sold via iBooks or Barnes & Noble.
NOOK Tablet ($249 on BarnesandNoble.com)
B&N carries over 300 e-books for kids. They’re clearly taking the kids market seriously and are selective about what books they sell and the features included within. For instance, the latest Barnes & Noble device is the only one out there with the cool, "Read and Record" feature that lets you record your own voice narration to your children's books. As a bonus, NOOK also plays interactive games.
Apple iPad 2 ($499 on Amazon.com)
There’s no contest. The big, bright screen on iPad is best for picture books. But not everyone can manage the iPad's big, fat price tag. You can usually view two pages at once, and many titles have the “enhanced” read-along narration and other bits of interactivity. The iBook store, however, lacks the selection of B&N and Amazon. Best bet if you own an iPad? Download the NOOK and Kindle apps (they’re free) and access their catalogs.