The book club of the pastI have fond memories of ordering books from Scholastic when I was little, mainly because with three sisters, getting something that was entirely mine was a rarity, and something new during the school year was almost non-existent. I remember how some downplayed the company because it offered much, if not all, of its books in paperback form, and these books would certainly not last the year. My mother thankfully did not subscribe to this way of thinking. She believed in fostering our love of books and she tried to add to our small collection whenever she could. Because the books were so reasonable, each of us were usually allowed a couple choices, and she taught us to treasure these new additions. (She still has many of these same books for my kids to enjoy when we come to visit…)
That was then, this is now...Now prices did go up, but that was over 30 years ago, and this was expected, but prices were still more than reasonable, and when my daughter was in preschool, I started adding to her personal library. This tradition continued on into elementary school, but when my son started school, I noticed a major change. There used to be several books in each pamphlet in the $1 to $2 range, and my children and I would peruse these sections first. I set a price limit for each order, and my increasingly savvy daughter soon caught on to the fact that she could get more books for her buck if she kept to this price range, and four or five books were always better than two.
But there have been some major changes to the book club over the past two years that I haven’t been too crazy about. For one thing, more and more toys seem to be showing up as a side bonus to buying a particular book, and if your kids are anything like mine, an award-winning book is great but just look at the toy you can get with that book! I had to come up with some book ordering rules and one is that the book catalogs were to order books and books only, and although it was a hard sell at first, my kids don’t even bother to ask about the “fluff” books now.
Another disturbing trend is of course the price changes. It is very rare, if at all, to see a book costing anywhere near $1, and the books that are priced this low are usually by an author none of us have even heard of, so my kids don’t even bother to look at these anymore, and frankly I don’t blame them. It is also hard to purchase individual books and books in paperback. If I wanted the hardcover version, I would stop by my local Borders, and I don’t want 30 books even though they are a steal at $2 a book…