Saturday, November 24, 2012

Speak Your Mind About: Barnes and Noble

As a person with a career in Early Childhood and as a Mom and a Thinker there are things that really upset me. In our country right now we have millions of children. Of those children there are so many struggling with reading and speaking properly. In our classroom at school we make sure to have a wide variety of different types of books in all different formats and styles. It is extremely important to engage their brains and encourage them to read, write and think. Books teach lessons, comfort and soothe, teach about the world around you and help to widen children's vocabulary. At home, I highly encourage reading and find it frustrating when others overlook this crucial link in creating children who love learning. So imagine my frustration when at Barnes and Noble Booksellers this evening we couldn't find many paperback picture books. For most of their picture books they were only selling hardcover copies. Which would be all well and good if they weren't $17.99. COME ON! That is insane. How can we expect our children to learn to read and love it, if we can't afford to get our hands on books? Libraries are great. Don't get me wrong, but there is something very satisfying about having your own bookshelf with books you know frontwards and back. It builds confidence in readers to know how the story goes and to be able to retell it. The ones they did have in paperback were mostly commercial ones: cartoon characters, television shows etc.  If that is all you can buy and read, at least it is something. But I was so upset that Barnes and Noble has begun to make reading and book owning something that only the children from higher incomes can afford. So naturally I had to send off a letter to Barnes and Noble. It is not as scathing as the Disney Channel letter was, but at least it gets my thoughts out there.

To Whom It May Concern:

This evening, November 24th, 2012 I was in your Big Flats, NY store looking for copies of several children's books in paperback. You see, these are not new books, but books that are popular and should have been available in paperback picture books. The only copies I could find were hardcover books. As I looked around the children's area I saw that not only were these books only available in hardcover, but most other children's picture books as well, except for the commercial books such as Dora, Disney Princess, Curious George etc.  Now the hardcover books, they are beautiful, and much sturdier than their paperback counterpoints. However, you are selling hardcover children's books for $17.99. The paperback versions to these books are available online for $6.99. I think you can see that someone would be able to buy more paperback books for the price of one hardcover book. Also by selling only the commercial books in paperback, it really limits what our children are reading about. The greatest children's books teach so many lessons that are absent in these more commercial books.  Can I tell you what you are doing by reducing drastically the number paperback books available? Because of this, fewer parents can afford to buy books for their children.  Not only that but children will not have the variety in their libraries that helps to promote literacy. Parents need to have the ability to purchase many different types of stories; ones that are written in rhyme, poems, song, and story to name a few. This helps to encourage language. If you do not promote literacy at a young age, you will lose your readers. If you lose your readers, you have no business in the future. Just because books are now available on electronic devices does NOT mean that all children have access to those devices. Furthermore, those that need the books the most probably really don't have access to those electronic books. Please reconsider your stocking in stores. It really is important to your customers that books remain affordable so that we can get them in the hands of the kids that need them. Does it not stand to reason that a Book Store would want the generations of children growing up now to become and remain readers?
Thank You for your time.

And of course I signed it and what not. I doubt I will even get a response and that's okay. But sometimes i really think these people running these companies don't actually think about what the implications of what they are doing are. I may be wrong...but I doubt it.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said Kira.

    I was so disappointed. I just can't believe that the whole paperback selection was so small.

    I hope your letter brings attention to the issue and helps to make a change to their inventory.

    You are such a good writer. I keep telling should write a book. In hardcover AND paperback!