Hard Times in Children’s Publishing

A recent article over at The Bookseller discusses examples of children’s book creators who struggle to survive financially. It contains some interesting quotes and a lively debate in the comments.

I’m not sure if one can take a few examples and start assuming that a children’s literature apocalypse is coming, but I do agree that it’s not easy to make money as a writer or as an editor. It does seem that many undeserving books are published each year, and I usually dismiss those as ones publishers hope will sell without too much effort. As long as those books make money, an editor can continue to publish the less obvious, riskier book that may be a more worthwhile read.

Remember, most book editors spend their time in the office crunching numbers and generating paperwork to defend the marketability of the titles they want to acquire, then do the majority of their reading and actual editing work on their personal time. It’s a demanding job, and it doesn’t pay well.

So, what’s the best way to maintain the quality of children’s books and to make sure good creators continue to be published? Buy those books. Recommend them to friends. Support your local library. And keep librarians in schools, so that they can continue to select the best books to help our children develop important skills and to become discerning readers in their own right.

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