So you can read my books

Monday, December 13, 2010


Publishers of children's books are unbelievably important to the survival of publishing as a whole.

If you think about the long-term future of the industry,

the people who are reading 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' today

will hopefully be reading a thick piece of literature in a few years.

Children's publishing is often viewed as a stable segment of the industry,

thanks to reliable sales to parents and school libraries.

Suzanne Murphy, vice president of Scholastic's trade division, said children's publishers "have fared well during a very tough economic time.

I think parents may -- especially during the holiday time --

cut back in other ways but are willing to spend money on something they think is valuable to childhood and education."

Nielsen BookScan reported

that sales of juvenile books were the strongest of any category in 2008, rising 6 percent from 2007.

In 2009, Nielsen reported, sales held mostly even.

By contrast,

last year adult hardcover and mass market paperbacks both declined nearly 4 percent,

and trade paperbacks fell 2 percent.

Sales of juvenile books may be skewed because many adults are buying young adult titles such as "Harry Potter" and "Twilight."

But the savior of publishing has an uncertain future :

Entertaining the kids with the printed page seems to grow more difficult by the year.

Children's appetite for cell phones, computers, video games and television far exceeds that for books.

In January, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that the time spent on all entertainment by kids from 8 to 18 rose from 6.5 hours a day five years ago

to 7.5 hours a day.

But only 25 minutes were typically spent reading a book.

The Department of Education found that in 1984 only 8 percent of 13-year-olds

and 9 percent of 17-year-olds reported that they "never or hardly ever" read for fun on their own.

By 2008, the percentage had jumped to 24 percent for both groups.

But publishers are not giving up without a fight :

Last fall, HarperCollins published a missing-girl mystery, "The Amanda Project," with a major online social networking component.

And Simon & Schuster is getting into the game this June with its multimedia venture "Spaceheadz."

Written by Jon Scieszka, author of "The Stinky Cheese Man" and the former Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People's Literature,

"Spaceheadz" is centered on aliens who come to Earth disguised as fifth-graders.

Simon & Schuster also plans to release it as an e-book. Sill, without color, e-books do not appeal to most children.

The question remains whether all these multimedia add-ons to the reading experience will pay off.

"At the heart, you still have to have good storytelling," Kinney said. "You can't resort to gimmickry and hope to retain an audience."

What do you think? Is Kid Lit our savior? Or is it simply a breath-taking story that will save declining readership of books?
What does Hollywood think of struggling writers :


  1. I completely agree. And I know that the surge in the success of YA frustrates some writers, but I think it is a natural progression.

  2. I think it is important to have good story telling especially in young adult fiction or it ends up not actually being good for kids at all. And some of my fondest memories are of reading as a kid. Books were even more awsome then.

  3. I'm encouraged by kidlit selling so good. It might mean adults aren't reading as much right now but it means they will be in future because we're raising readers!