A children’s book subscription company says its sales have surged after actor and political activist Laurence Fox berated it online.
Little Box of Books, a company that focuses on delivering diverse and inclusive stories to schools and homes, has seen a 20% increase in sales this week, following an abusive tweet from Fox. The actor, who failed in his bid to become London Mayor with the Reclaim Party this year, took a screenshot of the company website, writing: “Please f*** off you moronic, middle-class white birds."
The screenshot showed one of the company's subscription packages for four to seven-year-old readers with books including "black main characters, families with two dads, blended families, children who are in care, and adopted, boys who cry and girls who are flawed and sometimes baddies". Fox has since deleted the post.
Lynsey Pollard, director of the company, noticed a sharp increase in sales before she knew about the tweet. “I started getting tagged in posts, mostly Stand Up to Racism Facebook groups,” she told The Bookseller. “E-commerce has been quite quiet, but then the sales started coming in. The tweet was brought to my attention by our customers and supporters replying to comments telling people where they could buy the books that were making Laurence so furious.”
Pollard posted the tweet on the company’s social media accounts, along with a still valid discount code, LFOX10. Now, sales for all the company’s packages are up across the board. “If you can turn something hate-filled into something good and positive, that’s a really positive thing. I want more kids to see themselves in books and I want them to read more,” she said.
The Former Great Ormond Street Hospital employee set up the company due to her frustration at not seeing family set-ups like hers reflected in children’s books. Pollard selects the books herself but takes recommendations from publishers and sales reps, and will consider self-published titles if they fit the brief. She then tests the books with a school in Brixton, before deciding which ones to put in the boxes. The company has previously worked with celebrity authors, including Rochelle Humes, on crowdfunding campaigns.
Despite the messages of support and increased trading, Pollard - who has written a blog about the episode for The Bookseller - has also experienced online hatel in the wake of the Fox tweet. “There’s been a definite upswing in abusive messages — I got one via the website from someone who is clearly [Fox’s] biggest fan. I have no idea where it comes from. I get that some people really hate what we’re doing, but all I’m doing is selling inclusive children’s books so more kids see more of themselves in books.”
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