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Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one. There arent many parents out there who havent been hit with the Scholastic book club flyers or the Scholastic book fair weeks. Weve got three in grade school at my house, so it seems like we have a flyer almost every week from one grade or ...

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Scholastic, Books & "Stuff" in school

Posted by: Tim Sullivan on Feb 09, 2009 in Kids Reading


Tim Sullivan
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Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one. There aren't many parents out there who haven't been hit with the Scholastic book club flyers or the Scholastic book fair weeks. We've got three in grade school at my house, so it seems like we have a flyer almost every week from one grade or another.

But the question of the day is: should Scholastic sell so much non-book "stuff" (didn't want to use word "enrichment" and didn't want to use the word "junk") in its book programs?

One of the anti-commercialism groups is taking Scholastic to task for the practice. But Scholastic's spokesperson is unapologetic, claiming that the additional materials (a game wrapped with a book, for example) encourages more reading.

Me? I love the classics, but it's also easier to get my kids reading, if it's a topic they love (whether that's dinosaurs or Kevin Garnett) and/or there's an element of fun. On the other hand, I'm skeptical that the merchandising decisions are all made with *only* reading in mind.

What about you? Scholastic wearing you out? Or do you like the variety in the clubs and fair sales?
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Comments

  1. Posted by - Beth on Jan. 29, 2010

    Hi,
    Our students love the book fair and look forward to it every year. I have the same issues with all the non book items. I simply asked Scholastic not to send any of that stuff books only. They were great about it and did as I asked. This year we did say we would take a small stock of non book items such as posters which the kids love but we are planning on putting them out on family night so parents can make their own decisions about these items.
  2. Posted by - james Valastro on Sep. 30, 2009

    I believe Scholastic Books is being driven by people who see it as a direct way to advertise to kids.

    Watch this short video first...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdeE8SSVe6U

    Then watch this analyses!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvFAoz_v4BY&feature=related
  3. avatar

    Posted by ErinTM on Aug. 05, 2009

    I wish so many of the book weren't things like, "Barbie is Fairytopia" and stuff like that. That is really junk, but of course my five year old LOVES it. Oy.
  4. Posted by - Jane DelRossi on Mar. 30, 2009

    We had a Scholastic Book Fair in our school in December, and it was difficult trying to get the kids to focus on the books when there was so much other "stuff" lying around on the tables. Our fair did reasonably well, and because we are a small, close-knit school, many parents were there to tell the kids not to buy the junk. I really feel more books would have been sold if the other temptations were out of sight. We were considering having another fair this spring, but decided against it, and one of the reasons was the "junk". I don't even look at the monthly Scholastic newsletter anymore, as it contains most everything except books these days. Sad.
  5. Posted by - Priscilla Hill on Mar. 10, 2009

    My 6 year old granddaughter lost all her books in a house fire three weeks ago. I am trying to replace as many as I can, but it is getting very costly. Do you have sales on some of the books ? I am trying
    to replace the Butterfly Meadow ones right now. I'll be waiting to hear from you. Priscilla Hill
  6. Posted by - Pete Janelle on Feb. 25, 2009

    Scholastic wears us out. Many of the books are the same that my mom bought me, one at a time, once or twice a year without the happy-meal toy. Why not be honest about it Scolastic?

    It seems that since we [us in particular] buy many of their books on line to begin with that there should be a way to credit the child's school and grade and teachers could get their classroom rewards.

    In order that the book drives and flyer hoopla - don't become such competitively organized and cut-throat peer events.

    How many days of disappointment is legal, when our kids get home, with the directive to pick out the books and be sure they are paid for by the parents before[__??__] or else....

    Since we are paid only 1 day each month and our charter school is infamous for poor parent/event/teacher communication and we more often than not get the kid version of details there have been too many "I wish I had that..." items that were "promised" by the directive to "pick four books and have checks or cash here...etc."

    Q - Is this urgency the kids are feeling to buy more "stuff" being instilled?

    A - DUH!

    I wonder if other parents get the same sense of dire urgency and pressure from their schools to support their budgets by subsidizing book bonuses and book fairs that don't usually get enough of the "hot" title - to keep it "Book Faire." The answer?

    "Hey let's hold a contest;" so beyond the points p/book purchase race - now the children are trying to win "first pick" on either an individual/class - "win" that usually means much more heart ache and merchandising angst for all involved.

    On the topic of merchandising I would just like Scholastic and the schools, to cut the noise and get REAL. The school gets highly desirable books supplied as a kickback for pimping out the goods and preparing the kids for their monthly "pressure your parents skill-set training" including every detail of what "we can do for the school...!" Yet, I can't even get a final book pay date that is timely to out budget requirements!

    Like all of the sane people realize these days, if my scales hold books and food, Scholastic get the flip every time.

    We buy mountains of books in our house hold. It doesn't take a neurosurgeon to devise an way to give all the point credits due to every one; and I mean everyone, who has a dog in this fund raising walk. The goal should be all inclusive in that having an incentive program, that "Everyone" is aware of how to access and use, Sells Books! And get their benefactors the points awarded and the goods delivered as it should be. What if I could go to either the school or Scholastic website and find two-way links that allow me to register the purchases I make when I can afford to make them?

    Considering I just had nearly $400.00 of book purchases this week, that could do more than support the "posters, fuzzy pens, bouncy balls, etc." that Angela mentioned and I agree.

    So, I leave off with a sample of what I might like to say if I thought they [school/book-clubs/and other marketing extortionists during the "Greatest Depression" were listening:

    "Dear Scholastic,

    We are not imbeciles who don't want to buy our children books to read and help their teachers get their monthly booty box with the kickbacks for turning our kids into crying blobs when there is no gas in the car to get to the book fair.

    Will you hire our kids after college for regional sales, as they can sell your books easier to pure strangers than their parents, who are worn out from conducting monthly damage control sessions due to having lost 2 contest in order to receive one of the four copies, of Pok-e-mon we pre-purchased.

    Way to stock the hottest 2nd grade title gang!

    I would try to purchase online, but I value my life here in the south and school administrators get a little edgy when the heat of internet sales is in conflict with your plan.

    By the way, will you ever consider allowing every deserving entity in any school get their 10B lost points back due to no active account registry access? It only seems fair and if not how about a little heart and soul filled gesture - - like donating 10% of every sale to the school of our choice?

    My child shouldn't have to work for your recognition of their well learned materialism - but while they are on your sub-sales crew, the least you could do is fess up! Say it! "We sell character junk nearly as efficiently as Disney!"

    At least with the truth out from the horse's mouth, I could forget your scholastic tyranny and corporate pressure and encouragement for any chance to prey on minors as sales agents!

    Many thanks and best regards. We do enjoy those books when we can put our hands on them!"
    nrj

    At office Depot I can as the cashier to look up the school's I.D. and they receive 10% of everything I buy anytime of the year.

    Standards are nice, so I have heard.

    Sorry to rant, but this one hurts repeatedly even when we do love their books and hate the timing!
  7. Posted by - Angela Norton Tyler on Feb. 16, 2009

    If you have ever attended a Scholastic Book Fair at your child's school, you know how crazy students go for the "junk": posters, fuzzy pens, bouncy balls, etc. Meanwhile, the books are being totally ignored. I understand that Scholastic needs to make money; however, they should not purport to be so pro-reading when they are, in fact, pro-money.

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