AP’s Hillel Italie reports that Scholastic and Disney, two leading children’s publishers, are entering the ebook world. Scholastic has just launched BookFlix, an educational Web site pairing short films based on popular picture books along with nonfiction e-books that allow early readers to follow the text online. “We’re so lucky to live in an era when kids can have books in multiple formats. Each format offers something that the other doesn’t,” said Francie Alexander, Scholastic’s chief academic officer. “The e-book offers a wonderful ability for helping children learn to read — what academics call building `mental models.'”
Meanwhile, Disney plans a similar project later this year, making favorites such as “The Jungle Book” and “Cinderella” available online. While Scholastic, for now, is sticking to the school and library market, Disney will offer books to general consumers, charging a fee, still to be determined, for downloads. “We saw a void in the marketplace and decided to act upon it,” said Jon Yaged, U.S. publisher of the Disney Book Group.