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Children's Books in Hard Times--Resources

I created this list to supplement the "Children's Books In Hard Times" presentation I made at the NE SCBWI Conference on May 15, 2011. Additional resources can be found in the Resources section of my Idiot's Guide.

Websites and Articles

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders Sales Numbers: Lots of detailed information about just that--a striking graph shows Amazon booming while the other two stagnate.

BEA 2011: New Kobo and Other Points Rise Up at IDPF: Ebook reader and other news from BEA.

Children's Books: Facts and Figures 2010: Bestseller numbers from PW, breaking out ebooks for the first time--not as high as in adult, but growing.

The Future of Media Round Table: An early discussion about the future of publishing, as ebooks began their rise.

Have We Reached the End of Book Publishing as We Know It? Apparently not--the imprint with the new approach to publishing, described here, was shut down in the summer of 2010.

Literary Agencies as Publishers: an Accelerating Trend: A new development in 2010/2011.

Publishing Trends: A useful website, run by a publishing consulting firm, with news and occasional articles/features.

Social Networking: What a Children's Publisher Expects: An article I wrote in early 2010, still relevant.

Working in Children's Books and the Recession of 2008-09: I wrote this in the first half of 2009--how things looked as we headed into the recession.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd edition, by Harold Underdown (Alpha Books, 2008). Of course this is my book, but I can't help that: it's also a comprehensive guide to many aspects of children's publishing, including the stages in the publishing process, recent history of the business, and an overview of types of books and publishers.

A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and YA Literature, (click the link for a more detailed review) Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano, editors (Candlewick Press, 2010). For a comprehensive guide to the best children's books, with consideration given to what is particular to different age groups and genres, look no further. You'll also find thoughtful comments about what makes those books the best. This is a wonderfully opinionated guide to books and why they matter.

From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books, Kathleen Horning (Collins, 2010). An excellent look not only into the process reviewers go through, but at the standards editors often follow. From the Horn Book review: "Each clearly written chapter enumerates the characteristics that make a book of a specific genre successful. For example, the chapter on easy readers discusses print size and word length, while the chapter on fiction gives examples of the ways authors develop character."

Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature, Leonard Marcus, (Houghton Mifflin, 2008). The only available history of children's book publishing in the United States, and an excellent one at that. Marcus covers the business, the companies, the editors, and the books in a thoughtful narrative packed with interesting anecdotes.

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