Nothing says "goodnight" to me like sitting next to your child with his favorite picture book in hand waiting for the bedtime story. The feel of the glossy pages on your fingers and the array of colors jumping off the pages of a picture book are part of the reading experience. For the child who has his favorite book memorized and knows exactly which word makes it time to turn the page, it seems a gift of an eReader would be a rip off. Even the eRreaders with color can't capture the feel from the artistry of a picture book.
What about when your child is beyond reading picture books? Consider an eReader? Some of the things to think about before making the purchase are: cost, responsibility level of your child, and your child's likelihood of using an eRreader.
The costs of eRreaders can vary from $114.00 for the Amazon Kindle to $249.00 for the Nook Color and higher for some other brands. It might seem expensive at first, but when you compare it to the cost of a video game system, it is less expensive. eBooks are even cheaper than video games and if your goal is to move your child away from video games to reading, and Ereader is a great choice.
Not every child has the maturity level to be responsible for expensive things, but if you are willing to take your chances on an Ipod than why not an Ereader? Remember, your child is less likely to take an Ereader everywhere than and Ipod.
Last, what is the likelihood of your child using an eReader? Scholatic's 2010 Kid and Family Reading Report found that over half of children age 9-17 are interested in reading an eBook and a third of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had access to an eReader. If I could get either of my sons to read a third more than what they do now, it would definitely be worth it.
Most children age 9-17 are technologically advanced enough to be able to use sites to download books and gift cards could be given to them to load up their eBook account. My teenage son loves my eReader and wants one as well. It's definitely a better investment to me than a video game system.
While I still advocate traditional books for younger children because of the beautiful artwork in the picture books, an electronic device dedicated solely to reading is an excellent choice for children nine or older.