When will middle grade eBooks take off? (And some recommendations!)

Some think middle grade eBooks will skyrocket soon after the Holidays when parents pass on their ereader devices to their kids after they receive newer versions.

Maybe. Maybe not.

As a parent, I’d much rather pass my Kindle to my child in a waiting room or in the car than let him play video games. That I know.

Here are two younger middle grade books that kids will enjoy. I’ve read them both and highly recommend!


Molly Gumnut saves a baby bandicoot and is willing to risk it all to keep him safe. Molly is a feisty little girl who gets into adventure after adventure! When she takes him on a journey to find him a safe home she puts them both in danger.

BORN TO BE A DRAGON by Eisley Jacobs

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup…

This is what Lord Edric wants you to believe. He will do anything in his power to see that humans never come in contact with dragons again. However, he doesn’t plan for Meia, the foster child who dreams of dragons, believing they are real. Or Deglan, the ten-year-old dragon who bears the ancient mark that threatens everything Lord Edric has worked for.

Join these two unlikely friends as they discover the truth behind a legend so extraordinary it will alter each of their lives… forever.

These next two are for the upper middle grades or advanced readers.

A SCARY GOOD BOOK by Anita Laydon Miller

Twelve-year-old Hannah Stone tells everyone she’s “okay,” but that’s a total lie. Two years ago her dad was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The detective in charge of the case never found the driver, but he somehow managed to get Hannah’s mom to fall in love with him. The jerk. And speaking of love, Hannah’s developed a major crush on Ollie Ortega—he’s her best friend and the only one she can talk to—a crush on Ollie is so not a good idea.

Also not a good idea? Searching for a missing person with no help from the police. But that’s exactly what Hannah does when she finds messages in library books—underlined words that point her in the direction of someone who needs her.

And, suddenly, Hannah’s even further from okay. She breaks into a library, gets caught in a kidnapper’s web, and is stalked by her dad’s killer, all in an effort to save a life…but can she save herself, too?

QI (Book of the Baba Yaga) by Elizabeth A. Svigar

Thirteen-year-old uber-archer Samantha is thrilled to qualify for Xenith, the most prestigious — and mysterious — Olympic training facility in the world. Much more than an athletic camp, it’s a fantasyland where living dolls and the Baba Yaga abound. Plus there’s Dr. Nine, a master alchemist whose magical laboratory is very well guarded indeed. But not all that glitters is Olympic gold. When dangerous secrets begin to surface, Sam must fight to expose Xenith’s dark underbelly to save her friends and family…if she survives herself.

The only one I haven’t read is A SCARY GOOD BOOK but that will soon change!

Have you read any middle grade eBooks? And how long do you think before this market explodes? Tick, tick, tick.

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28 Responses to When will middle grade eBooks take off? (And some recommendations!)

  1. Stina Lindenblatt August 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Considering my 9 yo lost his brand new $15 swim goggles the first time he took them to a pool, there’s no way he’s getting an ereader for many more years. He wants one, but I know he’ll never use it. He’s like that. My 11 yo isn’t even interested in using an ereader.

    Both boys want iPod Touchs (like I have), but I know they’ll use it for playing games and listening to music, and not for reading. 😉

    • Laura August 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      I tend to agree with you. My nephew has one but only has like 1 book and 5 games. What’s the point? I bet some kids would use it. I would trust one with my older daughter. But my elementary boys? no way. We get all our books from the library!

  2. Ava Jae August 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    I don’t know that too many middle-grade boys are going to be getting (or even asking for) e-readers this Christmas, but I’ve Apple hardware (iPod Touch, iPad, etc.) is starting to reach a younger audience.

    I agree with Stina, though. Most teenagers and kids with an iPod Touch or access to an iPad don’t use it for reading. Nevertheless, I suppose there’s always still the possibility!

  3. Talli Roland August 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Great recommendations! I’ve just seen Anita’s book on Matthew’s blog – it looks fab!

  4. Heather Sunseri August 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I allowed my daughter to read my book on my eReader, and she fell in love. With the eReader. She liked my book, too, but she REALLY liked the Kindle. I think she’s getting one from her uncle for her birthday. Shhh. Don’t tell her.

    As far as middle grade eBooks exploding – it won’t surprise me, for sure. I think younger people love to discover new and unknown authors on their own. They don’t care if it’s off a shelf or through a computer. And often, I think they’d prefer to have it instantly zipped right on to their electronic devices. And they definitely prefer the lower prices.

  5. Tina Lee August 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    The ereader question for me is interesting. My son is a super reader and yet has extreme dyslexia and his eyes get exhausted easily. I think the ereader could be a good answer for him with both text to speech and adjustable font. Plus the ability to keep back up books for school on it. We are not jumping to buy one for him yet, but technology is changing so much and these kids are going to grow up with a very different relationships to screens and books both. I am so curious about it.

  6. Karen Lange August 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    It’s been a while since I read middle grade books. I was more on top of things back when my kids were that age. Thanks for the list; I should check them out. I tutor this age sometimes and it would be good to be able to recommend some good reading for them.

  7. Carole Anne Carr August 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    I’m sure this will happen very soon.

  8. Lydia K August 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I’d love to see ereaders take off the middle grade crowd, but the ereaders will have to be cheaper and VERY unbreakable first!

  9. Donna K. Weaver August 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    What fun sounding books! I hear that it’s just a matter of time for the ereaders to make their way down to the younger readers as their parents upgrade their own.

  10. shelley moore thomas August 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Born to be a Dragon looks like such a fun book! (Okay, so I have a soft spot for dragons…)


  11. Susan Kaye Quinn August 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    My 10 yo is encouraging me to get a Nook color (and hand down my nook to him). Also, we just went on vacation and the competition for the nook was fierce. I’m seriously considering adding another nook to our family, because I know the kids will use it. #matteroftime #usuallyshorterthanyouthink

    MG e-books on my reader: Wonderbar (trad-pub), Earthling Hero (self-pub), The Man in the Cinder Clouds (self-pub) … there’s more, but I can’t check it, because at this moment, my 8yo is reading the 12yo’s self-pubbed novel on the nook.

  12. Marcia August 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    The two main sticking points, I would think, would be breaking and losing. And there goes not just the device, but the library. So I agree that making them cheap and unbreakable is going to be huge. If parents do upgrade to new models and hand the older ones down, they may figure that’s little to no financial risk. But they may not be willing to replace any that get lost or go through the wash.

    Another thought: That market may grow along with school systems’ purchase of iPads for middle schoolers. A district near us is moving in this direction now.

  13. Anita Miller August 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I know I sound biased (thanks for the A SCARY GOOD BOOK shout-out, Laura, btw), but I have a few points to make:

    1. My kids have increased reading of both ebooks and regular books since they got access to ereaders. I don’t know why. Maybe the electronic media just got them re-interested in books period.

    2. Our community and school libraries have Nooks available for check-out. If your library does, too, I suggest newbies try the ereaders out by that method.

    3. There are a ton of free kids’ classics available on ebooks. My kids are digging those. My 10-yr-old bought her own Literati (for $60) and has more than gotten her $ back with all the free classics (and they’re good books, people…there’s a reason they’re called classics). 🙂

    4. Thanks for your support of A SCARY GOOD BOOK!

  14. Laura Marcella August 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I don’t read eBooks, but these sound really good. I’ll have to recommend them to my brother. He has a Kindle and would probably like some of these to share with his son.

    • Laura August 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      Thanks everyone! Anita, good point. Our library does not loan out ereaders – that would be nice though. And yes, I think the crucial point would be when schools invest in iPads and kids get used to reading on them first. Honestly, I think it depends on where you live. Our library is always busy and is not going anywhere soon. I’m really hoping for a world where this is both.

  15. Lisa Green August 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    It’s inevitable. I suppose it has more to do with the price of the E-readers and what the parents are willing to spend, but really? We buy video game systems that are unbelievably expensive AND the games to go with them.

  16. Elizabeth Arroyo August 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    My son likes reading graphic novels, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one that comes to mind. Not sure how that would translate on a black and white nook…the one mommy has.

  17. Matthew MacNish August 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Anita’s awesome!

    It’s an interesting question to wonder when kids will get into e-books. I have a Kindle and have offered to loan it to both my daughters, but they’ve never expressed any interest.

  18. write-brained August 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Huh…good question. I think it WILL take off but not for awhile yet. Too new of a concept for parents, I think!

  19. Tana Adams August 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    I hear January is a good time for book sales in general. I think people just want to unwind with a good book after all of the hectic stuff the holidays bring.

  20. Leigh Moore August 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup–LOL! love that. And also Scary Good Book!!! Everyone’s plugging that one today, and it looks fantastic!

    I didn’t know I was upgrading my Kindle at Christmas…! 😀

    • Laura August 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      I”m not upgrading my Kindle either. 🙂

  21. Eisley Jacobs August 9, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Thanks Laura for your recommendations! 🙂

    As far as the ereader revolution, my 11yo daughter is begging for one for Christmas. She says, “Imagine the possibilities! I can go on a road trip and not pack an extra suitcase!” She’s got a point.

    I have an ipad, so for now that works for our ereading needs, but I won’t readily just hand it off to her to head to the park.

    I do believe the market will explode come Christmas. Which excites me for many reasons.

    Thanks again Laura! 🙂

  22. Kelly Polark August 9, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    My mother in law just bought my daughter a Nook for her 9th bday (which is next week so she’ll get it then). I think you are right about a parent passing an ereader or video game to child to pass the time. Which is better? Excellent point I hadn’t thought of.
    I’m just excited to see my daughter so excited about getting an ereader.
    I just hope my almost 12 year old son will now want one too.

  23. Lynda R Young August 9, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    I think the market will explode as soon as Christmas, if not sooner. There are more and more great ebooks available that it’s inevitable.

  24. Amie Kaufman August 10, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I’ve read a heap of middle grade books on my Kindle — I think there is something to the idea that they’ll start taking off more as hand-me-downs become available. The power of the playground is something to behold! Once one has it…

    The eBook I’d particularly recommend for middle graders is POWERLESS by Matthew Cody. It’s an amazing story about a group of middle grader superheroes — and their friend who’s perfectly normal, but might be the one to save them all. Stayed up past midnight reading it!

  25. Patricia Puddle January 23, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Hi Laura, I only just came across this post. Thank you so much for adding one of my children’s books. I have four kids eBooks available now and they’re just starting to take off. I used to sell more paperbacks, but since Christmas the ebooks are winning.

    I received a Kindle for Christmas from my daughter and I love it, but I still like reading paperbacks too. My grandchildren love reading eBooks, but on my computer where they can see the pictures in full colour.

    My nieces and nephews are into eBooks and I’ve noticed many parents already passing down older versions to their children. I think many parents are waiting for the price to come down before buying them for kids, like someone said, they’ll lose or break them. I’ve read that some schools are already using eReaders for some lessons.

    Anyway, great post, Laura, and thank you for adding Molly Gumnut.

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