Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Picture Books are Worth Their List Price

Recently I was talking about my book deal with a friend. She talked about how happy she was for me, and how much she loves picture books, and how she can't wait to buy WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? when it hits the shelves some time next summer. BUT, she also lamented about how expensive picture books are. How she hates spending $18 on a children's book ("...but I will for yours!" she assured me).

I appreciate her enthusiasm for my forthcoming book. But her attitude toward picture books concerns me because it seems to be so common. Friends, family, even book bloggers lament the same issue: picture books are too expensive.

And yet these same people don't seem to give the list price much thought as they run out the door (or navigate to their favorite online bookseller) to buy the new Nicholas Sparks or Janet Evanovich.

Why is that?

Well, because picture books are so short, of course. And they're for kids! And they only take five minutes to read!

Let me pause for a second and say that I totally get that picture books can be pricey. When my kids were little, I bought a lot of paperbacks and didn't hesitate to check the bargain shelves and used book stores. I wanted my kids to have a lot of books and I couldn't afford to buy them all in their glorious, shiny-new hardcover forms. The same has remained true as my kids have grown up and their book needs have changed. We can't always afford the beautiful new hardcover. We buy paperbacks and bargain books and search yard sales and used book stores for our literary treasures. But new hardcovers are the best, and we buy them as often as we can. And yes, that includes picture books.

Because picture books are awesome, and they are worth every penny you spend for them. Even if it is $17.99 plus tax!

You don't want to take my word for it? Then let me convince you!

Why Picture Book are Worth Their List Price:

  • The most important reason is that picture books are often a child's first introduction to the world of books and reading. Fostering a love for reading is one of the most important ways we can help our kids to be happy and successful in school and in life.
  • Picture books encourage family togetherness. Bedtime stories, curling up on the couch on a rainy afternoon, reading with a flashlight inside a blanket fort--these are some of children's (and parents') best moments and fondest memories.
  • They can teach kids so much about the world around them, often without this as their primary focus.
  • Picture books can be fun!
  • They can be sad, or poignant, or educational while still entertaining their audience.
  • Picture books encourage diversity.
  • And free thinking!
  • And creativity!
  • A favorite picture book will be read over and over, often to the point of it falling apart.
  • Picture books are accessible for reluctant readers.
  • They are works of art.
  • They can be shared easily.
  • They may be short, but authors often spend months or years perfecting picture book text.
  • And illustrators spend months and months bringing them to life with pictures.
  • And, of course, they make PERFECT gifts!
So, there you have it. The next time you see that scary little dollar sign on the inside jacket flap of a beautiful, shiny-new picture book, remember what it is you are really paying for. That picture book just might brighten a child's world, and your own along with it!