sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 12, 2005

kids’ books
posted by soe 11:34 am

Dear Karen,

I have an exciting idea: Let’s buy a children’s book house!

You see, in my trawling of blogs, I found this exciting piece of news: “The Chrysalis Group has announced its intention to dispose of its children’s and promotional books businesses.”

I have to admit, I’ve always thought the idea of owning or running a bookstore would suit me well. This seems to go just one step beyond that.

Just picture it. Day after day of just reading fun YA books. Or leafing through picture books. Or learning about dinosaurs or history or science. We wouldn’t have to go into the office. We could just take the books home with us once a week and do our work from our respective reading nooks! And then get together over tea and discuss what we thought of them and which new authors we should sign. We could go to the beach and still be working!

To be frank, I probably can’t afford to buy a publishing house on my own. I looked through my wallet this morning and I think the guy busking at the top of the Metro escalator had more spare change than I do right now. But a mutual love of kids’ books has long been a theme of our friendship. And I also like spending time with you, and we don’t get to do nearly enough of that these days since I moved. So I was thinking this would be a nice remedy to that problem.

Just so you don’t think I’m being rash about this idea, I thought I’d better share with you a few drawbacks I’ve thought of:

  1. We’d have to convince them to split up the promotional book business and the children’s book business, because I don’t want the promotional half. According to Chrysalis’ web site, the promotional books are remainders. You and I both already have enough remainders in our collections. Warehouses full of them just don’t appeal.
  2. Chrysalis’ book selection sucks. I would definitely keep the classics line (I mean, you’ll never run out of new readers for Kipling, Alcott, Stevenson, or Barrie). Their “Leap through Time” books also look interesting. But I could happily ditch books that come with stickers in them. And some of their titles just seem like they were created by people who talk baby-talk to five-year-olds — or to their yappy dogs. We could definitely find better writers than that.
  3. Neither of us has any experience running a business, and I, at least, am very lazy. I do not like to work hard. I want to be paid to read books, and I’m guessing there will be more to the job than doing that. I don’t mind going to bookseller and library conferences. And I could probably learn to steel myself enough to talk to prospective writers. And we’re both good editors. But maybe buying a publishing house means it comes with employees already who would do the rest of the work — especially the bill paying part?
  4. Chrysalis is located in London. The cats would have to go into quarantine. You’d have to sell or sublet the condo. I’d have to pack all my boxes up again — this time without the kindness of old friends and my folks — and convince Rudi that he wants to give up his seat on the DCDSC. But, on the other hand, to quote Joey from Friends, “It’s London, baby!”

So, let me know what you think. In the meantime, I’ll start looking in the chair cushions for quarters and will trade in some unused Metro cards. You start going through your winter coat pockets to look for forgotten $10 bills.

Talk to you soon!


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