Monday, April 26, 2010

Why a Job Selling Children's Books is Hard

In a complete departure from what is normally on this blog, I'd like to talk about the difficulty in selling children's books.  When I began selling children's books, I thought that passion and good business sense would take me a long way.  It's far harder than I ever expected, to be honest. This post is an attempt to examine why.

  • It is a Media Driven World

     There are so many different types of media clamoring for a child's attention.  There are movies, TV, computer games, console game systems, the internet and now iPod's and iPads... oh and books.  Books don't talk loudly, or force a child to interact with it.  They don't come with a 6 month commercial lead-up.  And reading takes more effort than enjoying the other sources listed.

  • Some Parents are Lazy and/or Busy

    Reading to your child also takes more effort than sitting them in front of a TV screen.  Parents who work long hours and have other stuff that need their attention.  Yes, they love their children.  But they may be too tired, or stretched too thin to take that extra step.

  • Parents Don't Know How to Judge a Book

    Books have changed over the past few decades.  The most popular books at traditional school book fairs tend to be TV or movie character driven, instead of the more classical stories you grew up with.  How do you know what to buy?  A lot of times, the answer comes down to the cost of the book instead of the quality of the books.

  • Quantity Does Not Equal Quality

    Because some parents aren't judging the quality of the books they buy, their children end up with a bookshelf full of books with no substance.  How many times does a child want to read a SpongeBob book with a predictable storyline?  So, the parent might surmise that their child won't read an additional books they buy because they aren't reading the ones already purchased.

  • Parents Buy from 

    Parents that do buy books would rather purchase from Amazon.  Free shipping, the ability to read reviews, and an almost infinite catalog of titles is hard to argue with.

  • The X Factor

    I'm sure there are other factors I haven't even considered.

What do you think?  Why is it hard for independent booksellers to sell in this economy?


  1. Like you said, it takes time and effort to read to your children and it is hard after a busy day. However, it really is a good way to calm and end their day with relaxing together time and really doesn't take that much time. Many do not know how to judge a book. It needs to be opened up and seen. Can't judge a book by its cover or title. Anything educational is worthwhile. Schools alone cannot do all the work. It takes commitment from parents also working together. It is really funny when parents say that their children have hundreds of books. Are they accessible, are they read, are they age appropriate? Even children who know how to read can benefit from reading a book together with their parents. How else do you judge if they have good comprehension? They spend more time at home than in the schools. So, who is going to be more influential? Take the time, make the difference!

  2. I'm a children author and It's very hard to sell books. I write for the ages of five on up.

    It's hard to sell to parents for many reasons.

    #1 a lot on section 8

    #2 economy, bad times

    #3 Parents to busy as like mentioned above, too lazy or the opposite. working to many hours at jobs.

    #4 They don't judge the book right for the children involved. Too fancy of a book cover or not good enough for their child.

    #5 Back to the first point, not enough time to read it to them. they might ask why too much or some thing similar. They don't have time to answer all the questions. Put, them in front of a t.v or video game and kids are content as long it's on. Any way if your interested look me up on any search engine.

    William Sawyers of Concord, Ca

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