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To be irritated at an author coming into school to sell her books?

(21 Posts)
Spidermama Thu 29-Oct-09 15:35:54

First it was people trying to flog all the children yoyos by doing a special assembly on yoyos, hmm now they've had a visiting author who has kindly come in to tell them all about her new series of books.

Ds desperately wants these books. The school has followed up the visit by sending us all out letters about how the school can now give us 'the opportunity to buy copies of the _hardcover edition_ of the books at the discount price of £10' shock

AIBCynical?

edam Thu 29-Oct-09 15:38:03

You are being cynical but it's justified.

Could you order the books from the library?

I'd be happy to pay £10 if DD was inspired and begging to read a certain book. I really struggle getting her interested in reading.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 29-Oct-09 15:40:26

Yoyo's in assembly seems a little off but I personally think having an author visit is great. Nobody has to buy the book, it may not be to personal tastes etc but cant see any objection to the letter.

RustyBat Thu 29-Oct-09 15:40:26

Depends on what the author did, really - we often have authors coming in who do writing workshops & other activities with the kids & then I think it's fair enough for them to promote their books (it probably keeps down the amount they have to charge for coming) If it's just promotion it's a bit more dubious - does the school get a commission?

You need UnquietDad - he does author stuff at schools.

Spidermama Thu 29-Oct-09 15:42:06

See DS is a good reader anyway and we have a houseful of great books. It's not the money I resent, and I will buy him the book, it just feels a bit slimey to me that an author goes into schools to recruit young readers to line her pockets.

The yoyo outrage was worse but I can't help connecting the two and wondering whether the school should allow commercial advertising in this way.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 29-Oct-09 15:45:07

I think thats overstepping the mark - no-one needs hardcovers.

DDs school has a poet in every other year who offers a book for sale but its only £3.50 and this is after he's spent a session with each class (recep-Yr6) on poetry writing and organising a presentation for parents. So as he's doing a lot more than just flogging his book and being self-serving, I think that is fine.

chopstheduck Thu 29-Oct-09 15:45:44

I dont think it is unreasonable for an author to visit schools. We had a visit from Sue Townsend this term and I thought it was great. We also went to see Jacquiline Wilson. It encourages the kids to read. I didn't feel coirced into buying the books at all.

ABatDead Thu 29-Oct-09 16:06:50

This winds me up.

School kids are a captive audience and it is totally unfair. Charities do it too and at DSs last school parents complained as it was every couple of weeks some charity or other did a fundraising assembly. They only targeted the school because it was a fee paying school and they thought parents were rich.

The whole Book Week thing annoys me too as the book industry invented it for no other reason than to sell books. I can go to a book shop myself or the library. I do not need a truck arriving at school with kids being shephered in to a room to 'buy a book' which in my view are usually way over priced.

BiteOfFun Thu 29-Oct-09 16:07:22

It is normal promotional work for an author, and usually quite inspiring for the children. It is encouraging them to read, not smoke.

Litchick Thu 29-Oct-09 16:10:41

I write for the adult market, so if I ever do a talk it tends to be more of a creative writing lesson. My books simply aren't appropriate for anyone under 16 or so.

However I know school book tours are de rigour for children's authors. Most do them - I expect theu're set up by the publishers.

Spidermama Thu 29-Oct-09 16:19:30

Biteoffun it's only 'encouraging them to read' the books of the author in question though. I wouldn't mind if it was a general talk from an author about writing but it seems to have been a session all about promoting her books and naturally it's a series of five books so that would set you back over £50 given they're all still only out in hardback.

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 29-Oct-09 16:29:47

The local primary had bookweek, but the kids got dressed up as their favorite characters.

I was seeing the head teacher about my concerns about the school, and she was dressed up as Andy Pandy, so was a bit surreal.

Could you ask the board of governors that while great to have visiting authors, the hard sell isn't welcome.

Am sure you could find rules about selling to children?

TspookyChasm Thu 29-Oct-09 16:30:44

YANBU. I think it's really great when authors visit, really I do. Dc do find it interesting.

But then there's the inevitable hard sell and the letter with the order form attached.

It's very wearing to have to keep saying no if something has been plugged for an afternoon at school.

All 3 dc were waving an order form at me the other day after a visit.

So the first thing you have to say when you collect them is 'No!' x3. Long faces all round hmm.

madwomanintheattic Thu 29-Oct-09 16:34:08

it doesn't bother me at all - i love that authors come into school - there is no rule to say that you have to shell out. just tell the dcs that they will have a lovely time with the author and then they can get the books from the library.

sometimes we buy the books, sometimes we don't. i quite like (sad bookish type) that the kids have a few signed books on their shelves - the authors that come to us take the time to write personal messages and do little drawings and stuff to personal if you do choose to buy. it does inspire the dcs that 'real' people write the books that they read at school. a bit like learning that milk comes from cows lol. grin

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 29-Oct-09 16:35:42

We had a skipping rope thing in assembly - bit like the yoyos!

My experience of visiting authors is that my DC are usually inspired. They both love reading so to meet an actual author and to hear how they write stories is brilliant. It also often opens up a new genre of material. Yes, there is encouragement to buy a signed copy but if they are very keen then we would buy one.

carocaro Thu 29-Oct-09 16:38:37

We had this, but I get the books cheaper of Amazon, when £ tight it's tough

Spidermama Thu 29-Oct-09 16:43:57

I've looked on Amazon and it's the same price. It's because it's a new book only available in hardback.

cornsilk Thu 29-Oct-09 16:49:18

I agree with OP. My ds's school are always asking for money for school fund, PTA etc etc. I think it's fine for authors to try to sell books in return for a visit but to directly give order forms to children puts parents in a difficult position. It would be far better if there was a more subtle mention on the school newsletter.

gingernutlover Thu 29-Oct-09 16:49:50

ask your local library to get the book in?

Is the school buying copies for the school library.

I think the disadvantage of the selling aspect here is probably far outweighed by the benefits of meeting an author - assuming it wasnt just all one big advertising opportunity

emsyj Thu 29-Oct-09 17:30:45

As long as the books aren't utter tripe, I would prefer kids to be subjected to a 'hard sell' by authors than by games manufacturers, confectionery companies etc. I remember a well-known local poet coming into school (altho admittedly he didn't try and sell a single thing so far as I recall) and it was really inspiring to know that books are actually written by real people and you can write books as a job!
Nobody HAS to buy the book, but if a child wanted a book and I had the money to buy it then I would absolutely buy it for them without question. My mum said 'no' to a great many things when I was little (new shoes, new toy or whatever) but never ever turned me down if I asked for a particular book. I absolutely love reading, so does DH and I very much hope our DC (on the way) will do too.

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