Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why children's books are underpriced

It's interesting that we expect to pay less for things for children. On Wednesday mornings I go to exercise class with Miles, my ten year old, and we only pay for one. I realised this morning I just expect that. Cinema tickets for children are cheaper, and there's of course student discounts on public transport. And so it is with children's books - we expect to pay less for them than for adult books, even though they cost no less for the publisher to produce. Given the importancy of literacy and a readiness to read to a healthy prosperous society, you might think we'd be willing to pay more, which means there's a lot of unpriced social benefits in children's books.


jonathan said...

I think that sometimes people expect a children's book to be cheaper because it is typically shorter. Less pages = less money. Of course I know nothing about the cost of making books.

Also, kids might go through more books than the average adult, so the expense adds up more quickly.

I also often get comments from parents in the library that picture books are far too expensive. I usually say that they could probably be published much cheaper in black & white on the same paper as cheap paperbacks, but who would want that?

I think you're right Andrew - for what you get out of them, kid's books are a bargain.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

I think you're right that kids often go through more books than the average adult, which is one of the satisfying things about children's publishing. It's interesting that the biggest blockbuster successes have been the Twilight and Harry Potter series - kids books. That ready passionate market of readers gives them a launch pad. Those readers are due to our libraries, librarians and teachers. If the government doesn't support children's book, libraries and schools — and prevent money being sucked off to pay for technology, what will the next generation of readers be like?