Don't Read Just Any Book this Week - a Perspective on Children's Book Week
Posted Aug 26 2008 11:36pm
ANot Quite Crunchy view onChildren’s Book's
Since I’m a bit late writing my post for children’s book week, I spent some time reading what other bloggers had written (see links below.) Since many have covered the history and made some book recommendations I thought I’d take a different tack and discuss my personal philosophy of book buying…interesting, no? …click…no wait, come back!
Though I am a dedicated bibliophile, a teacher and actually took a class in children’s literature in college, when I started buying books for my DS, I’m embarrassed to admit, I fell for the Dumbo, Disney, Sesame Street type. Well, that’s not all I bought but, well, that’s what was in the bookstores, prominently displayed, advertised and recommended in libraries. (Incidentally, what’s with the “ Kid’s Top Recommended ” book lists - Do we promote “Kid’s Top Food Choice’s” lists…which would undoubtedly include 85 spots for candy)?
It took me awhile and a lot of conversations with crunchy and academically minded friends to wonder….what exactly am I doing buying books featuring popular TV characters, grammatically incorrect sentences and mindless plots? It was, of course quite nice of me to support those large entertainment and toy companies that receive 10-15% of the wholesale price of each book. But, what specific benefit did my DS receive from these books besides indoctrination into the popular culture?
I, an educated and experienced marketer fell into the advertising and availability trap when it came to book buying. Yes, major bookstores do carry some great books but, a scarily 60% of children’s books sold are entertainment tie-ins or based on licensed characters.
Like the toy industry, the book publishing industry is a well, business and so, has turned to licensing to sell books. Think about it, no need to advertise a book to make a sale...just piggyback on the millions spent by the license holder!
And so, I changed my philosophy from buy what’s available and my DS seems to like…which would be anything at grabbing level to researching good books. Fortunately that wasn’t hard. There are a tremendous number of good books available….just maybe not at your favorite big box retailer or through scholastic.com. Don’t get me wrong, you can buy good books in those places but maybe not GREAT Books. Great books are on great book lists and in books including, one of my favorites, Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook.
I’ll be writing more about this later this week and provide a list of great books to buy and places to buy them on Thursday…just thought I’d give you something to think about…
And here is what some of my blogger friends have to say: