School Book Fairs

(33 Posts)
Mother51 Wed 27-Mar-19 23:03:45

I've seen an old thread about children's school book fairs, and was shocked to find that many mums thought the whole thing was a waste of time and money, with their offspring being coerced into buying overpriced, poor quality books. My eldest daughter and I organise half price book fairs at schools, and we love it - I've always been an avid reader so my kids were brought up in a home full of books, and they could all read before they started school! Some of the schools we go to do give the children a chance to have a quick look at the books during the afternoon, but the book fair itself is held after school. Parents who don't want to spend money on books don't have to come in, but those who do usually end up buying several books as they're such good value. We love being told what great books we've got, and how reasonable the prices are, and it's really lovely to see the kids taking such an interest in reading. We do all the work ourselves and the school gets 20% commission on everything we sell. And all our books are half price, so their commission goes a long way!! It's a win-win situation for parents, children and teachers - and of course, for us. We actually look forward to going to work - how many mums can say that?

OP’s posts: |
zzzzzzzx Thu 28-Mar-19 07:08:22

Our school book fair is far from cheap. At most of them I do tend to buy my son a book but I know I could go online (or in a supermarket) and buy it cheaper and all year round, that's exactly what I do. The book fairs are heavily advertised by the teachers and the children don't want to miss out. It is hard then to say that you don't want them to go as everyone wants to encourage a child's love of books. I do find them very expensive though.

Saucery Thu 28-Mar-19 07:12:18

Are you waiting to be asked which company you represent. 3/10 for thinly veiled advertising effort.

HexagonalBattenburg Thu 28-Mar-19 07:31:40

Hate 'em (and I'm betting Usborne). Even if you "don't have to come in" - if the kids know it's set up in the hall they will nag and beg and wheedle for you to go in and you end up getting suckered into paying for like a £5 pencil and book of spy secret slime recipes rather than anything actually of literary merit.

My kids have mountains of really decent books - but I would say 90% of them are charity shop finds that I paid like 50p for (and they'll go back there or to school when outgrown). The others - I have a lot second hand bought via Amazon, or ones in the supermarket that mysteriously work their way into the trolley on the way around the store.

NightmareLoon Thu 28-Mar-19 07:35:49

My kid loves books... And so we go to the library lots. I give money to the pta for other things. Problem solved.

PineapplePatty Thu 28-Mar-19 08:12:23

Book fairs are all shit.

I'm a teacher.

isittheholidaysyet Thu 28-Mar-19 14:11:07

School book fair.
Book per child (4) about £8-12 each. So £40, very little literary merit (Lego? Spy notebook?)
I do it to support the school, and not disappoint my kids. I'd rather give the school a fiver per book instead, and do what we usually do and buy books second-hand for peanuts.
Or new online for half the price.


WeepingWillowWeepingWino Thu 28-Mar-19 14:13:14

If you give a damn about books, please don't buy them from supermarkets or Amazon if you can help it.

We don't have these at our school but I love Usborne books, if it is them.

ChicCroissant Thu 28-Mar-19 14:18:36

MLM's are not popular here OP.

cucumbergin Thu 28-Mar-19 14:24:20

Wow. DC's school does book fairs but the books are about £2-3 at most! They are run by a teacher, not a company.

Ironfloor269 Thu 28-Mar-19 14:30:24

My daughter's school's book fairs are a bloody rip off. But thank goodness there's no Usbourne there. I ask my daughter to look at the books, note down a few she likes and I buy them online. Never from the book fair.

ChicCroissant Thu 28-Mar-19 14:32:27

DD's primary used to alternate a Scholastic book fair and asking the children to bring second-hand books in and selling them. Worked well.

Tidy2018 Thu 28-Mar-19 14:49:53

Ours was almost impossible to avoid - a slip with the child's chosen book on it, leaflets and book tokens and reminders coming home in schoolbags, and text messages to parents' phones. It was set up right beside the security door to the primary on parents' evening. I paid £18 for a slime recipe book, some rubbish based on a tv cartoon, and something that caught my eye and proved to be drivel. Lesson learned for next year.

Why on earth did the PTA need to record the name and class of the child for each book? That was just weird. It is a rather odd school, however.

Comefromaway Thu 28-Mar-19 14:53:12

At my children's junior school the children had to walk past all the displays to get anywhere within the school. I used to have tears every time and they always wanted rubbish film/TV tie in stuff.

I have always been a reader and we have a house FULL of books but the prices of boojks at school book fayres were often at least 25-50% more than I could obtain elsewhere. We frequent second hand book shops a lot too.

bookmum08 Thu 28-Mar-19 15:17:08

My daughter's school used to do Scholastic Book Fairs (I helped out several times) but this year have stopped. We found that the books we were supplied with tended to be cover price which anyone who buys book regularly will rarely pay - Whsmith frequenly do 3 for 2, Waterstones do buy 1 get 1 half price and new releases are usually half price or £5 off cover price. People just didn't seem to be impressed with the selection of books available and didn't like the stationery etc bits (because every kid wants one of those stupid plastic pointer things). The objective of getting children who are unlikely to get new books fails with these sales. The only people who generally buys are the (stereotype alert) nice middle class mums.
Perhaps try a secondhand book sale with donated stock (from the middle class mumsgrin) and never charge more than 50p a book.

reluctantbrit Thu 28-Mar-19 16:09:40

Ours were books at full retail price, far too much emphasis on TV/cartoon/movie characters and nothing I would say helps a child improve reading.

I was ok to buy one IF I would think DD would enjoy reading it. In Infant I complained to the head that I would expect to see books for a variety of ages and abilities, not just another picture book which would go out of favour after a couple of weeks. They shelved it soon afterwards.

Now DD is in secondary and you have no control about it. So DD has to part with her pocket money and a contribution of what I would normally pay for a book like £2-3. She learned the lesson very fast.

cucumbergin Thu 28-Mar-19 21:13:24

TBH though, DS loves tv/film tie-in books, and I don't care - it motivates him to make the effort to pick his way through them, and any reading time is good practice for him. It doesn't have to be great literature - at his stage, just the bare mechanics of reading is enough work.

itsabongthing Thu 28-Mar-19 21:15:34

Yep ours is not cheap at all.
Available much cheaper elsewhere.
And it is after school but the kids all browse during the school day and bring home a wish list!

ballsdeep Thu 28-Mar-19 21:19:29

They are nearly double the price. Of normal books. Gangster granny was 7.99 in my last one..... It was 3.49 in asda

bigKiteFlying Fri 29-Mar-19 09:56:32

Current primary does half price book fairs at schools and they are much better than the previous full price ones.

Even so I can often find the books cheaper at The Book People, Amazon - sometimes new sometimes second hand, even more conventional bookshops have sales and deals.

They do promote the fairs and it's really hard to avoid them IME. Though they also don't give a lot of notice when they are being held so if it's a bad time money wise it's an added pressure.

Even the half price one have such a lot of tat and non book things that you then have to steer kids away from.

Part of the schools summer fate is donated second hand books 10 - 20 p and I think that does more to get books into houses.

InDubiousBattle Fri 29-Mar-19 10:03:50

My ds is still in reception so we've only been ton two of these book fairs. They had a few books that were cheap, £3 or so but the vast major were expensive, I paid £6.99 for a Julia Donaldson I could have got much cheaper somewhere else. Fair enough to say the school get a kick back, but they aren't cheap at ours.

Mother51 Fri 29-Mar-19 11:17:51

Saucery: "Are you waiting to be asked which company you represent. 3/10 for thinly veiled advertising effort."
Lol, Saucerey, there would be no point giving the name of the company as it's a two-woman-band, just me and my daughter, and we only work locally. I used to work for Usborne books, just to get the discount on my own purchases, really, but found I had a rival who was selling "my" books at "my" playschools for half price - less than I could get them for even with my commission. So I started working for him instead, and my daughter and I took over from him when he retired. I think the reason our book fairs are so popular is that ALL the books are at least half the shop price, and they start at £1, so almost every kid can afford to get at least one. We do a few activity books but mostly concentrate on reading books as we're both passionate about kids being able to appreciate and enjoy a good story. And we don't really need to advertise - we get schools ringing US to ask if we can do a book fair for THEM! Good point, though. I'm afraid my enthusiasm carries me away sometimes!

OP’s posts: |
bookmum08 Fri 29-Mar-19 11:55:49

I would be curious to know where you source your stock in order to sell at less than cover price, make a profit and give money to the schools?

Mother51 Mon 01-Apr-19 22:39:18

bookmum08 - that's a good question! We get our books from the previous owner of the business as he doesn't want to completely retire yet (he thinks he'd be bored!). He's been dealing with his wholesalers for almost 30 years now and reckons he can get a better deal from them than we could, but he has promised to give us their details and introduce us to them when he decides to stop work altogether. It suits us as it saves us time and we still get the books at a good price - as you say, we are able to sell them at half price, give the schools 20% commission, and still make a profit.

OP’s posts: |
Pigletin Tue 02-Apr-19 10:03:52

The one with the pointless thread where we learn all about OP's book business

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