“Can’t love ‘em if you don’t have ‘em” – books, that is. That’s what the Marketplace commentator said when he was talking about kids -- or "new retail customers" as he put it -- reading books. This was in a story about First Book, a group that gives books to preschools and daycare centers and after-school programs and kids who can’t afford to buy them.
First Books gets the books from private donations and publishers like Candlewick, who, as one editor explained, can actually save money by giving some books away ("publishers face logistical problems")….and they don't give old books that didn’t sell. When Candlewick published a new edition of the Judy Moody series, they gave old copies to First Book -- warehouse space is expensive, First Book gets warehousing for free. Sounds like a win-win to me!
They love working with small local groups like Sister Power in East Harlem, which has a drop-in reading center. THey interviewed a child there who said, "I'll probably love books when I grow up because I love them now." (Hence the "new retail customers")
First Book doesn't just collect books: they get them to people who will read and share them with the kids who needs them, and they're always open to new ideas. You can go to their Web site or blog or, if you’re at BEA this weekend in New York, their booth, to find out more.
(And if this is old news to everyone else, sorry! I just heard about it on one of my favorite radio shows, Marketplace.)