I was in book heaven today! Despite the below freezing temps and snowy slick roads, I made way to a local book warehouse where a friend of a friend supplied a name and I was able to enter the vault and have access to its treasures. I got copies of The Soloist, Philip Hall likes me maybe I reckon, Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson, 35 copies of Fast talk on a slow track, numerous hi/lo books, Warcraft, Star Wars, DK illustrated science books, atlases, professional books for teachers. . . NINE BOXES of books… for $00.50 (that’s fifty cents) per pound. I was so happy to get all these wonderful books for my library! I can see sending them in book sets to reading classrooms, having new picture books for severly disabled students and fattening up my “quick easy read” section for my struggling readings. The employees at the warehouse were so happy to see everyone getting books, they were so helpful and friendly, but who isn’t happy to put books in someone’s hands. I went on this little treasure hunt with a couple of friends. As one of them was getting help loading her car, the employee told her that he was glad we were getting these books because all those that remained would be shredded. Did reading that burst your bubble like it did mine? As my friend and I discussed this, we wondered why leaders in our school district hadn’t already connected with book warehouses so that our students could benefit from such books or why the book distributor wasn’t trying to get a tax advantage by donating them. We imagined teachers being given special invitations to these events; prisons, group homes and hospitals getting special holiday packages and children in need getting books in their hands!!
How does it happen that those with so much are so out of touch with those in need?
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; Wendy Bhagat, senior vice president, First Book; and Heidi Kilgras, editorial director, Random House Children’s Books today announced the availability of free books through the 2008 Summer Reading Initiative. Announced at Edward Brooke Charter School in Boston, Mass., the Initiative marks the first stage of a national distribution of over 850,000 free, new Random House children’s books to schools, libraries and literacy organizations serving low-income youth across the country.
The Campaign is a multi-year effort of the U.S. Department of Education, First Book and a host of major U.S. book publishing companies to promote literacy and supply books to children in need. Since June 2006, the Department, First Book and major book publishers have collaborated to distribute over 2.9 million children’s books to schools, libraries and literacy organizations serving low-income youth across the country.
For more information on the U.S. Department of Education and First Book’s book donation campaign, visit: www.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/bookcampaign/index.html
For more information on First Book, visit: www.firstbook.org
In an attempt to increase book sales, HarperCollins Publishers will begin offering free electronic editions of some of its books on its Web site, including a novel by Paulo Coelho and a cookbook by the Food Network star Robert Irvine.
The idea is to give readers the opportunity to sample the books online in the same way that prospective buyers can flip through books in a bookstore.
“It’s like taking the shrink wrap off a book,” said Jane Friedman, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. “The best way to sell books is to have the consumer be able to read some of that content.”
Starting Monday, readers who log on to www.harpercollins.com will be able to see the entire contents of “The Witch of Portobello” by Mr. Coelho; “Mission: Cook! My Life, My Recipes and Making the Impossible Easy” by Mr. Irvine; “I Dream in Blue: Life, Death and the New York Giants” by Roger Director; “The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come from and How You Can Choose” by Mark Halperin; and “Warriors: Into the Wild” the first volume in a children’s series by Erin Hunter.
HarperCollins also plans to upload a different title by Mr. Coelho each month for the rest of the year.