Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Responsibility

In my first post at Novel Spaces, as a guest blogger, I wrote about the responsibility that I feel as a writer of children's books to produce books that positively impact my young readers.

I have recently been wondering about publishers' responsibility to not only provide books that will sell, but books that will have a positive impact on the reader's lives. In the Caribbean, children's books tend to mean text books. Most mass distributed novels are literature books, scholarly works well suited for classroom discussions of alliteration and other such techniques.

Publishers print these books because parents will definitely buy them if they are a part of the school curriculum, regardless of the price. Regular children's novels are much harder to sell. So, the supply is driven almost solely by the demand.

I hope that one day we can see a major publisher in the Caribbean market that takes the leap and creates demand by regularly publishing fun, enjoyable novels that encourage our children to pick up a Caribbean based book just for the enjoyment .... the idea just might sell.

Is it just an unrealistic pipe dream? What do you think?

See you again soon, I will write again on October 28.


Jewel Amethyst said...

Carol, it is a realistic dream and I hope that would be the case soon. In my experience, bookstores in many of the smaller Caribbean islands only sell text books or religious books, therefore that's what Caribbean publishers will produce.

The demand for children's novels (and even adult Caribbean novels) will have to be created by readers, since publishers only go with what sells. This may be done through book clubs and locally and regionally televised book readings or dramatization (or low budget movies) that stimulate interest in and increase a demand for children's novels.

Charles Gramlich said...

It's certainly true that much can be learned from novels. I can attest to that myself.

JAMbooks said...

Carlong Publishers(Caribbean) Ltd
has been trying to fill that gap, providing pleasure reading for Caribbean children. Sales have been very so-so for the reasons you mentioned. Money is mostly spent for school books.There is a general feeling that children should get books, free of cost, so unless there is sponsorship the books stay on the shelves.Bad news for the writers of fiction.

Carol Mitchell said...

I heard about a new series by Carlong, but I have not been able to get any information or to buy a copy.

We need several approaches to work in tandem:
Government support: Programs to parents and children to encourage reading.
School support: In my children's schools (outside of the Caribbean), they encourage the children to write book reports on regular novels of their choice.
Publisher subsidization: for every 6 sure sellers, 1 risky proposition. If children read more, it can only be good for publishers, right?