Scholastic Inc., a children’s book publisher, is in trouble for selling more then just books in its classroom book clubs.
Everyone remembers getting those handouts in school from Scholastic Book Clubs (or Arrow for you older kids) where you could buy all those Goosebumps books. Well, now Scholastic is in trouble for selling stickers, toys, and – yep you guessed it – video games in addition to books.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), an advocacy group based in Boston told the The New York Times that they reviewed the fliers to find that 14% of the items were not books and 19% of the books came with additional items including stickers, board games, or trinkets.
Susan Linn, director of the campaign said that the main complaint is from parents who think the company is using the fliers to sell toys, video games, and other things under the guise of a classroom book club. Also, that it sends the message to kids that when it comes to reading, it’s not the content but what you get with the book.
Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs told The New York Times that she stands by the products sold in the fliers and believes they are all used to promote the books and education.
I don’t see the problem. Being a teacher I have seen the fliers and what is being sold in them. I admit there are a lot more video games and toys then I remember seeing when I was in elementary school but they are all G-rated educational games including Brain Age and Nancy Drew games (which are based on books). They are not selling Grand Theft Auto and Fable 2.
I just don’t see the big deal. A lot of children need incentive to read because they are not very fond of it. So you give them a poster with their book or let them play a game once in a while. I completely disagree with Susan Linn that kids will regard reading with what extra stuff they get with it. I doubt kids think that way, and even if they did, as long as they’re are reading who cares what they think?
Plus, the CCFC said that it only found 14% of the items to not be books. That’s not even a third of the flier so it should not even be worth worrying about.
Bottom line, there is nothing wrong with Scholastic Book Clubs selling a few extra items to promote their books or give the kiddies a little extra incentive to read.