Friday, March 02, 2007

About Picture Books

This is a two fold post, it links to an interesting article about picture books in Publisher's Weekly and includes the story of "how I found an interesting article about picture books in Publisher's Weekly." The article, Are Picture Books Back, by Gabrielle Mitchell-Marell, discusses the current publishing surge for children's picture books:

"As for the cause of the poor picture book performance in recent years, many observers point to the same culprit: the swell in these titles, both new and backlist, from Harry Potter to C.S. Lewis and beyond, has taken its toll on the more mature picture book category as younger readers turn to fiction, and away from picture books. Simon Boughton, publisher of Roaring Brook Press, breaks it down this way: "Because the younger kids are now reading up, the seven- and eight-year-old end of the picture book market has become the younger end of the kids' fiction market. Pre-reading kids are where picture books serve the most purpose." This is a marked change from the previous generation, where kids might read picture books into first or second grade. " (Marell, Publishers Weekly, 2/26/07)

The article goes on to discuss how Harry Potter changed some of the marketing trends and the oft cited criticisms of how costly picture books may be. Interestingly enough, the discussion also detailed how picture books rely on libraries and librarian's purchasing them to keep the business growing. Case in point, consider the additional profit made by the publishing houses of such award winning books as the Newbery and Caldecott selections. I'm not sure picture books were ever really gone, but the article is interesting. Almost as interesting, to me anyway, as how I found the article.

If you have ever doubted the "linking" nature of the blogosphere, it's a small world after all, reading this post is an example of the phenomenon; kind of like the Kevin Bacon game (if I may be so bold) without all six degrees. How so?

The list of blogs that interest me continues to grow. As I read different blogs and their comments my curiosity (aka inherent nosiness) often overcomes me and I indulge by click on the linked names attached to comments. If the comment author has a blog, it is displayed and I take time to peruse their blog as well. This summer I found an interesting blog,
Buried in the Slushpile, by the Buried Editor in this manner; I think she may have commented on Read Roger and I followed from there.

Yesterday the Buried Editor's post, Nothing is ever final, contained two different cover art samples for a book her company is publishing. Children's book cover art is a weakness of mine, so I was compelled to add my two cents to the conversation. This morning I looked back to see what other readers thought of the topic and spent a few minutes clicking on those aforementioned comment links. One link, e, led me to, the blog of children's writer and illustruator Elizabeth O. Dulemba and her post Do you follow the biz? linked to the Publishers Weekly article Are picture books back?

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