We had a call this morning from a publisher who is thinking about supplying reviewers with f&gs of picture books in digital form and wanted to know if Horn Book could work with that/those.
I demurred. Electronic galleys for fiction, maybe. Although my Kindle gathers dust (too hard to hold; I hate the buttons and typeface; the "page" is too gray), my iPod Touch is perfect for reading on the subway or in the dark and can hold hundreds of books. Lots of editors and agents are already using Kindles or Sony readers to manage otherwise innumerable reams of manuscript pages. (It is unfortunate that there is nothing about digital technology that will reward people for writing shorter books.) But picture books demand to be held, and the page-turn and your fingers are part of the story. Less ethereally, picture-book reviewers will often hold them at a distance to see how an image might carry across a story hour, or they will want to try one out with an individual child or group. I remember Chris Van Allsburg musing about the unlikelihood of families gathering around the cozy glow of the computer screen to "read" the cd-rom version of The Polar Express.
I understand the publisher's desire to keep down costs, and, theoretically, electronic galleys would allow reviewers to post their reviews earlier, which is to everyone's advantage. But I wonder if the distance between what is seen by the reviewer and read by the consumer is too great. Are film reviewers allowed to watch the movie on TV?