Monday, August 9, 2010

Yes, Writing Another Post on Books for Kids About Books

So, I'm looking at our bestseller list for last week, compiled at a fast food place with wifi last week, and noticed an interesting trend (fad) on our top ten.

Our top ten hardcover kids books:
1. It's a Book, by Lane Smith
2. Lego Star Wars Visual Dictinary, from DK
3. How Rocket Learned to Read, by Tad Hills
4. The Shadows (Book of Elsewhere, volume 1), by Jacqueline West
5. Bright Baby First Words, from Priddy
6. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
7. Skyclan's Destiny (Warriors Super), by Erin Hunter
8. Dog Loves Books, by Louise Yates
9. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, by Stephenie Meyer
10. Catching Fire (Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins

Now I know we've written about these books before (at least twice), but it's interesting to me that It's a Book, How Rocket Learned to Read, and Dog Loves Books all came out this year. It's not surprising to me that we like them, nor that they are selling, but why now?

Why, with ebook formats dominating media attention, why not "It's a Kindle", "How Rocket Learned to Download Audible" and "Dog Loves I-Pads"?

I try to not talk about this too much. I don't want this to be an industry blog. Our customers are overwhelmed with this kind of stuff. And I still feel I can't compete at the party (shoes are scuffed, neckties are way too wide); I tend to second-guess my punditry. Not that there aren't folks making grand pronouncements weekly, but that's probably not where I'm going to find my cashflow to keep the store going.

What I have to tell myself is that the great thing about pronouncements is that if you're wrong, people forget and you move on. In the old days, books got updated or went out of print. Magazines went to microfilm, and who could load that? But now, of course, you have to remove your incorrect blog posts and twitter feeds. Do you think folks are doing that much yet or is it too early? Is it ethical? I'm sure it has to be done anyway. Who wants to hire a consultant with ideas that were proven wrong?

So back to my mini-analysis--I've noticed that many of my customers who've moved to the ebook format have not stopped buying books. The collective question in the industry is whether that is temporary or long term. Needless to say, the answer affects our business (see that blog post I linked to).

But what happens with kids who don't have any emotional connection with books? We're hedging our bets here, hoping we can instill some of that love with the help of Lane Smith and Tad Hills and Louise Yates.

Hope it works!

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