Publishers have welcomed the news that Amanda Ross, Cactus TV md, may launch a television programme dedicated to children’s books.
While Ross is understood to be waiting news on a sponsor, she is optimistic the programme will go ahead with C4 later this year. Helen McAleer, Walker Books managing director, who has a background in television, said: “Anything that gives support to our industry in another media is a good thing. We have some of the best creatives in the world and getting that out to a wider audience would be great. A straight review show might be tricky but if they could bring in digital content such as apps then it broadens the possibilities.”
Gillian Laskier, group sales director at Egmont Press, said the idea “feeds into” the government’s literacy concerns at the moment. She added: “The big challenge will be in getting children to watch a programme about books. If she can do that, then children will have no problem pestering their parents to get them the books they want.”
When Richard & Judy ran a children’s book club special in 2007, it gave an enormous boost to sales said Elisa Offord, head of marketing at Simon & Schuster Children’s Books. “The two books we had included in the show, Aliens Love Underpants (Clare Freedman, Ben Cort) and Girl, Missing (Sophie McKenzie) saw a huge uplift in sales. It pretty much launched Sophie McKenzie’s career.”
In an interview with The Bookseller this week, Ross said: “The difference with a kid’s book club [compared to an adult book club] is that there are so many perennials, and you have the chance to explore authors and books, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Gruffalo, that are popular year after year. The show could have much more longevity. It doesn’t just need to be about newly published books.”