eBook Plaza

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
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Free ebook sharing is cool, but creative tools fall flat.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can practice their reading  and writing skills by reading the ebooks submitted by other users and creating their own. The narrate option allows kids to practice reading out loud. Kids can express themselves when they choose a topic to write about and feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their book published in the public forum.

Ease of Play

Making a book is easy. But general app navigation isn't always intuitive, and new screens are often slow to load.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that eBook Plaza is a community forum where kids, teachers, and parents can make and read simple ebooks. Parents create an account for themselves and a separate one for each of their kids. Once signed in, parents can make assignments, and both kids and parents can browse submitted ebooks or make their own. Since each created page must have a graphic, the app asks for access to your device's camera and camera roll. Authors also can narrate their story, for which parents need to allow access to the device's microphone. All ebooks are shared and then approved by the developer before being posted to the community database. All books are searchable by language (English or Spanish), reading level, or grade level. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared. 

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What's it about?

With EBOOK PLAZA kids and parents create and read simple ebooks. Users browse through community submissions by language or reading level. Choose to record your own voice reading the book's text or listen to the author's narration. Submit a review when finished. To create a book, choose a graphic for each page, add some text, and record your voice reading. When finished, submit it to the developer for review before it's posted to the database. Parents can create assignments to send to specific kid accounts.

Is it any good?

A community forum is a nice opportunity for creating and sharing ideas, but overly simplistic creation tools make for disappointing ebooks. The best features are that authors can narrate their books, search in two languages, and share creations with others. However, other elements of eBook Plaza are a bit disappointing. Each page must have a graphic, but there's quite an odd collection of included graphics, and there's no draw option. Using your own picture from your device's camera roll offers a bit more flexibility. Still, the final product ends up looking less like a book and more like a slide show with some text attached to it. There's also no internal library to keep completed books. Even if kids don't want to share their creations, all books are destined to be submitted to the developer for review to then be shared with the community. Though books are rated by reading level, the complexity of text often doesn't seem to match its assigned reading level. Though the community forum aspect is nice, and it's all free, there are much better ebook creators and libraries out there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the books they find in eBook Plaza. Explore the wide variety of topics, read the books together, and use them as a starting point to learn more.

  • If kids are learning English or Spanish, challenge them to read or write books in that language.

  • Get out the arts-and-crafts supplies and make a storybook together. Kids can draw their own pictures and tell their own stories. For prereaders, parents can write down the words their kids say.

App details

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