26.7.08

Age banding vs. age branding

I've been following this whole age banding hullabaloo with some interest. To be frank, I'm a little on the fence over the whole issue. Or perhaps just a little surprised at the degree of lather writers seem able to get themselves into over it. All that said, I've duly signed the petition at www.notoagebanding.org. Maybe just because I remember the years of my childhood where I did my best to storm the gates of the adult collection of my local library.

I've written a couple of books that would likely be marketed as for readers ages 3-8. And while I do think the books are very suitable for children of about that age, and if I am going to do a school visit or reading that is certainly the audience I would hope for, I do suspect the main purchasers of the book (soon to be books!) are childless, twenty-somethings who knit (and knit-witless as I am, I do love those readers.) So where does that slot into age banding?

So, in light of all this contretemps, I was amused to find at the village book fair a book very specifically titled Best Stories for Eight-Year-Olds by Enid Blyton.




I've dipped into it a few times, but frankly the resident eight-year-old is much more interested in this:



Richard E. Grant? Doctor Who? Colour us there! You can find the whole thing at the BBC site here.

4 comments:

bookwitch said...

Ah, I had forgotten this. When my children were small I frequently bought those collections for five-year-olds, and so on. They got tidied away very quickly, as they thought the age had to be the right one.

O'Leary said...

I know, they are just begging to be stale-dated, aren't they?

kittenpie said...

There are a few parents askign for these types of books, and a couple of sets of them around. How limiting, I always think! What about catering to interests or opening new doors together?

O'Leary said...

Good point, Kittenpie. I think they must appeal to the same segment that buys those birthday cards that tell the recipient how they are - like they might not already know. I think it's a fear of getting things wrong that leads to this whole feeling that we need age-banding at all. But of course, you can still get it wrong that way and what we really need are smart librarians and booksellers who know how to hand-sell titles.