Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

I was late to embrace ebooks for kids. Convinced of the superiority of print books for young children, I joined multiple kids’ book-subscription programs and regularly stocked up on physical books at school book fairs, our local independent bookstore and public libraries to make it easy for my daughter to read more and more. 

But the inflow of books dwindled during my daughter’s second-grade year, with the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home orders that followed. Our local library system closed, our favorite bookstore shifted to curbside pickup and then halted in-person sales altogether, and we worried that book delivery by mail might be disrupted, too.

In need of fresh reading material for my daughter, I turned to Epic!, a kid-focused digital library that offers 40,000 ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos, and quizzes. It did not disappoint. Easy to use and ad-free, it creates a great immersive environment for children 12 and under to seek out fiction and nonfiction that interests them. It’s accessible through a web browser or mobile app, and costs just $7.99 per month after a 30-day free trial. You can create profiles for up to four children for at-home use.

Epic! quickly became my daughter’s go-to reading platform. Its interface was so appealing that she started searching for and reading books on Epic! even when her teacher had assigned the books from another digital library. Here’s why kids love Epic!:

  • Freedom of choice. Kids read more in their leisure time when they have access to a good selection of books and free rein to decide what to read next. Epic! delivers both, allowing kids to navigate the huge digital library on their own. They can scroll through titles by genre, theme, series, awards, or popularity—or plug their own criteria into the search bar for reads about a particular topic.

  • Seamless experience. Epic! titles load quickly and there are no wait times in Epic!. When kids see a title, it’s available right away, unlike ebooks from libraries, which may have limits on how many users can access the material simultaneously. With no pop-up ads, banners, in-app purchases, or other intrusions, kids get to immerse themselves in books without distraction.

There’s a lot to love for parents too:

  • Safe online environment. Epic! provides the book selection kids crave with the guardrails parents know they need. Made for kids exclusively, all of the content has been vetted for educational benefit and age appropriateness. Plus, there are no upsells, nor harmful personal data collection. Epic! is compliant with the Children’s Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

  • Accurate reading-time tracking. Through the parent dashboard, moms and dads can take a peek at kids’ reading habits without being intrusive. The child’s profile shows which books the child has read, including how much time they spent, and on which date. This is a brilliant replacement for the much-maligned homework reading log, which studies have found to be demotivating to children, not to mention inaccurate and cumbersome.

  • Affordability. For the price of one children’s paperback book, you can give your child access to 40,000 ebooks, audiobooks, and educational videos for a month.  This expense easily fits within most family budgets and the return on investment in terms of educational impact and productive time will be well worth it.

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