Posting “Read-Aloud” of Children’s Books on YouTube – Good Idea or Not?

Posting “Read-Aloud” of Children’s Books on YouTube – Good Idea or Not?

I received the following email from an author last week:

Greetings Angela:

One of the organizations to whom I mailed a copy of my book has said they would like to publish this book as a read aloud children’s book.

They were very impressed by the book trailer you made for us and I, likewise, was also impressed by the trailer you created for my other book. I took the liberty of mentioning that you were responsible for both of these excellent presentations and we decided to find out if creating a read aloud book would be a project you might be willing to take on.

Do let us know what you think of the idea.

I watched the sample “read aloud” on YouTube that the author sent to me. It was of a best selling children’s book. In a nutshell, the camera is facing down at the children’s book and someone is turning the pages and, of course, reading the book out loud.

Here is my response to the author:

I watched the video. They need permission from every author (or copyright owner) to read and show an entire book on YouTube. Otherwise, it’s copyright infringement. I wonder if they have permission from authors and publishers for all of the videos they’ve posted. For the best sellers, to be completely honest, I doubt it.

I have a moral problem with this as well. Parents should be reading books to their own children. They should not be handing a tablet or a phone to a kid so somebody else can read to them.

And, if your entire book can be seen online like that, people will have zero incentive to buy a copy. I would definitely NOT recommend authors do this.

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5 Responses to "Posting “Read-Aloud” of Children’s Books on YouTube – Good Idea or Not?"

  1. Werner  February 6, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Angela. Organizations like these get millions of views on these children’s books being read out loud. They receive an ad revenue split with YT for those views. If an author does decide to go this route, they should be asking for and receiving an equal share revenue split with the organization for the views specific to their book video.

  2. Pamela Allegretto  February 6, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Great response. I agree completely with your entire comment, especially the part about parents sitting with their children and reading to them personally. Those are some of my most cherished moments with my Mom and then with my daughter.

  3. Barry Knister  February 6, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Hello Angela. Your reaction to the proposed YouTube reading of children’s books is both principled and rational. It’s depressing to me that the author needed to ask.

  4. Werner  February 6, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Angela, the other thing the author has to be aware of and ask this organization – is what sort of revenue sharing do they offer for the videos?

    It’s the reason this organization is doing this. These videos get millions of views, and during the video, it pauses for ads. For all the eyeballs on those ads, the organization gets a 55/45 ad revenue share from YouTube. Some of these organizations are making as much as $25k a month doing this. Outside of the moral issue, if the author does decide to go this route I think an ongoing 50/50 share of the ad revenue the organization receives for the video of her book is more than fair.

  5. RJ  February 6, 2021 at 8:47 am

    Generally speaking, I agree. There are, however, circumstances in which a disability prevents parents from doing this for one reason or another. Not every parent has an Audible voice, can read, or the finances to access the equipment to assist them with this kind of activity every day.