A Book In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

I was planning The Boy’s birthday party and I am so over party bags filled with plastic tat that goes straight in the rubbish bin. So imagine my delight when I saw this special offer – a bookshop was offering the first book in several children’s series for £1.

I started grabbing multiple copies of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer– one for each boy attending the party. One pound for a book that was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year and won the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year? Sold.

Then I noticed two women checking out the display.

Hang on, only the first one’s a quid.

Yah, they’re just trying to get you to buy it, then when the kids are hooked, you have to buy the rest… AT FULL PRICE.

Humph, I’m not fallin’ for that.

And they walked away.

Because, you know, God forbid that your child get hooked on reading. Who knows what that would lead to . . .

And yes, it would’ve been helpful to tell those silly women that the subsequent books in the series were available at the library. But I was too busy grabbing copies of all the other first in a series books on special offer.

What effect do the words “special offer” have on you?

28 thoughts on “A Book In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

  1. I bought it for my nephew and it couldn’t have gone better! HE READ IT! AND ASKED FOR MORE!
    I paid cover price, but gosh, £1 a book — brilliant. That’s practically a money-back guarantee.

      • Stole my line!! Couldn’t agree more. Special offer used to be like crack to me. I’d probably buy anything if it was a good deal but these days whet with being unemployed and all the only good offer is a free one. Thanks for encouraging kids to read…


  2. Silly women! Continuing on from the ‘(Wonderful) Rubbish we have read’ idea from yours and Reb’s previous blogs, I never cared what my children read when they were young. I just wanted them to learn the joy of reading. Had I not discovered a little book about two naughty chimps tying up their Grandma, my eldest son would have never gotten over the notion that reading and books are boring. Was it recommended reading? No. Does he now read high class literature all the time? No. Nevertheless, every spare moment his nose is in a book. Thank you, chimps. And Artemis Fowl is certainly a notch up from that!

  3. I am convinced I was conceived in the back alley of a tag sale. There’s just something about a bargain that sets my heart ablaze.

  4. I have to admit, I always search for the small print on any free offer, expecting a bait-and-switch or a pay later deal. But I’m a sucker for First Read is Free offers!

  5. My oldest son loved Colfer….as did many of his friends (and as I recall, Colfer has books for a younger age group too…Spud Murphy?). But his reluctant reader brother could not be persuaded…he of the Captain Underpants fan club. I am a little of the view that it doesn’t matter what they read as long as they read….it’s not like I haven’t indulged in chick lit, beach reads, mindless junk, myself from time to time…though I hope they read “quality” books too! As to party bags and bargains, I confess to including a copy of Webster’s Student Thesaurus in party bags a few years ago (along with chocolate and some other trinket). They too were a bargain ($1 ea) and although I am sure some parents thought I was nuts ( or worse), I figured every kid/house can use at least one. Just finished The Book Thief …the power of words …a potent theme.

    • Oh yes, Spud Murphy – the Ninja Librarian – both of mine LOVED that one! And I got another one of his younger ones out of the library last week – The Legend of The Worst Boy In the World -no reviews thus far. So far I’ve managed to avoid Captain Underpants and Horrid Henry (the first HH was on for £1 too but I left that one behind.)

      That’s so funny that you included a thesaurus – one of the parents did say to me as I handed over the book “Oh, you’re going for the intellectual party bag….”

      The Book Thief – sigh. I still miss it.

  6. How tragic to see such an attitude to one of life’s most precious skills. Have they thought of the benefits of strong reading skills on their children’s futures? Makes me furious.
    Good on you (as my mother’s Kiwi boyfriend would say, and yes, she’s 85 and he’s 90) for buying them!!

  7. Seriously people. Seriously! God forbid those kids would get hooked on READING is right. My word. I love their thought process vs. yours. We readers would think exactly that: by that first book for a buck, then go to the library. You almost want to say to those women, “Have you ever heard of The Library?” Last summer, when I was at the library every single day, working on my thesis in a dark corner, I heard all manner of comments from people we know. One lady said, “Did you see any white people there?” It had never occurred to me, but apparently there’s a supposition that White People “buy books” while Brown People “get free books.” I thought my head would explode. Even just writing it here makes me want to use the F word.

    Buy the book! Spend the buck!

  8. For Christmas, we exchange small things with the kids at the sitter’s. We did books this year, just little books that my kids helped pick out. Not as big a hit as the plastic doodads but maybe just one of the kids enjoyed the book after the plastic stuff broke.

  9. In books who could resist. Last week I was in the local book store “The Novel Idea” buying a book for someone’s birthday and I find that Penguin has released “fifty mini modern classics.” Short fiction in books that measure 4×6 inches which you can slip in your purse or pocket. Who could resist at $4. I bought the William Trevor one, 4 short stories. Special offer? As Sarah Palin says about everything,”You betcha”

  10. What a great way to get kids hooked. What a shame those women missed an opportunity to turn kids into readers. There’s no better magic in my opinion.

    I’m like Sarah. I like bargains, but i look for the catch.

  11. we give our daughter a tiny allowance for small jobs around the house so that she can save up to get whatever barbie, or hairband, or lip gloss that she can’t live without for the month (it takes a good four weeks for her to save up for a minimally-priced barbie). But books, those I buy for her no matter what. if i saw kids books for a dollar, i wouldn’t be able to stop. (really any books, i often hit the clearance bookstore shelves and splurge on authors and topics i’d never get at full price.)

    i am complete and total sucka for a deal even when it’s not that great of a deal.

  12. I have two exceptions to my no-shopping rule: thrift/consignment stores and bookstores. Every other form of shopping makes me want to chew my own arm off in an attempt to escape.

    Furthermore, where books are concerned, my kids know that if they want it, they will get it. Well, most of the time. My son decided it was time to learn how to read books to himself, when, at age four, I refused to continue reading Captain Underpants. Hell, that was a win-win if ever I’ve seen one.

  13. Oh, we are known as the book-gift family for sure. We always walk into the birthday parties and sure enough, we’ve got the tidy, flat package to set on top of the bursting Toy Story/X-Men/Princess bag. I’m sure my dear children’s classmates are so wise to us they already know, but I can’t bear to buy anything but books. To me, there is no bad choice when it comes to a book. Happy birthday to the dear boy, by the way!

  14. When my kids were little and begged for toys on every shopping excursion, we had a well known rule: I was fine with buying them the occasional truck or game. But I would pay for a book every time they asked. No limit at all. Yes, I couldn’t afford a whole series on a single outing. Yet week after week, year after year, they collected piles of books. And they read them. It’s the one thing I know I really did right as a mother.

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