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aruna
06-29-2013, 10:24 AM
I found this on Nathan Bransford's (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2013/06/race-childrens-books-and-jacob-wonderbar.html) blog:

Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?
(http://blog.leeandlow.com/2013/06/17/why-hasnt-the-number-of-multicultural-books-increased-in-eighteen-years/)



Since LEE & LOW BOOKS was founded in 1991 we have monitored the number of multicultural children’s books published each year through the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s statistics. Our hope has always been that with all of our efforts and dedication to publishing multicultural books for more than twenty years, we must have made a difference. Surprisingly, the needle has not moved. Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, children’s book publishing has not kept pace. We asked academics, authors, librarians, educators, and reviewers if they could put their fingers on the reason why the number of diverse books has not increased.
These are stats for America, I should add, but I'd guess that it's similar in Britain. ANd similar for adult books. And I don't think it's authors who are to blame: it's publishers

Rachel Udin
06-30-2013, 09:14 PM
I think book sellers and publishers can be blamed for this...

Readers and school libraries seem to be more aware of the issues.

patskywriter
06-30-2013, 10:35 PM
I think book sellers and publishers can be blamed for this...

Readers and school libraries seem to be more aware of the issues.

Sigh… booksellers still haven't learned. …

Some years ago, a regional bookstore, which had its flagship store downtown and a few others in the suburbs, decided to open a store in my neighborhood, a racially and economically diverse area. To our amazement, the only book the store carried that was written by a black author was "God's Trombones" by James Weldon Johnson.

After much "back and forth" between the administrative office and prospective black customers, the store finally ordered a wide range of books by black authors. (Just imagine, we were begging a store to take our money!)

The store was immediately stampeded by black (and other) people from all over the place and the books sold, as they say, like hotcakes. Unbelievably, that store outsold all the others in the regional chain—by far. There had been a pent-up demand that had gone underserved for years. The only problem was, the chain was on shaky ground when it opened the new store and the outreach to black readers didn't come until the store was practically out of business. It was a desperate act instead of a marketing plan. We all felt that if the store had reacted faster, it would have been saved. Now the entire chain is gone, but no one seems to have learned about the importance of identifying your customer base and catering to it.

Kitty27
06-30-2013, 11:25 PM
Sigh.

I have said it repeatedly. There is a HUGE audience with large income to spend. This goes back to the persistent belief that Blacks don't read and if we do,only in very narrow categories. There is also a tendency to place AA characters in a very specific type and era or environment. Anything outside the supposed"norm" for a Black character isn't seen as "real".

For other groups,I think they just don't believe the audience exists and yes,stereotyping of what is "normal" for that racial group also exists. I believe it will take a book with a POC character hitting HP or Twilight type numbers for the publishing industry to finally wake up. I hate to be a cynic,but money talks.

This is a huge audience that is being completely ignored.

Rachel Udin
07-01-2013, 04:07 AM
But even with the stereotype that East Asians are nerdy, etc. I still don't see that reflected in the book store (What? We don't read fiction?). Even local television seems to feel the heat of Latinos being a larger demographic, but I still don't see it in books.

Let's not forget that Cindi Pon was told that her book would not sell and then when she did, the bookseller, Barnes and Noble and Borders demanded that the cover be changed. And then I've heard another story where someone was directly told by an agent that no one wants to read about Chinese history.

Since Chinese history is much more popular than Korean or Indian... I kinda feel like I'll have to double down to get anywhere with my current book. (Which is also why I'm researching it more closely 'cause I don't need to ef it up while putting one of the only books to represent these countries/rare time periods out there).

I also see this with book covers... though we went over that. Book covers with sellers at major chains in diverse areas are still more likely to try to buy the covers that don't have PoCs. Yet the local chains do.

So not only the publishers, but the book sellers/internal book seller buyers are pretty much dictating the market. Might work better if the booksellers demanded from the publishers more diversity, which would make money involved.

RemaCaracappa
07-06-2013, 07:52 AM
I found this on Nathan Bransford's (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2013/06/race-childrens-books-and-jacob-wonderbar.html) blog:

Why Hasnít the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?
(http://blog.leeandlow.com/2013/06/17/why-hasnt-the-number-of-multicultural-books-increased-in-eighteen-years/)



These are stats for America, I should add, but I'd guess that it's similar in Britain. ANd similar for adult books. And I don't think it's authors who are to blame: it's publishers

I just came over meaning to post this, you beat me to it. I found it on Tumblr today. Sadly it seems that a number of people are reading this as being discrimination against white people- I can't even begin to see what in this story could be interpreted that way.

Definitely worth a read!

ellio
07-06-2013, 11:01 AM
This inphographic was being posted around the various social media outlets I used recently

http://static.squarespace.com/static/508822f6e4b09f3e5430c874/t/51d20d3ce4b04f3aa85e73a4/1372720446451/diversity_tinakugler.jpg?format=1000w

The post it came from (http://tinakugler.squarespace.com/blog/2013/6/28/illustration-friday-equality) has some other good links to various sites on the topic.

I'm thankful that my school I went to a school where they tried to fill the library shelves with as much diversity as possible, but you see the information like that and it's just really sad.

Rachel Udin
07-06-2013, 06:47 PM
I just came over meaning to post this, you beat me to it. I found it on Tumblr today. Sadly it seems that a number of people are reading this as being discrimination against white people- I can't even begin to see what in this story could be interpreted that way.

Definitely worth a read!

That's sad... I mean the whole "You're discriminating against whites." thing.

But at the same time, I was hunting for a book on diversity for a baby loosely with the message just because you look different doesn't mean you can't share in your humanity.

I spent a few hours and out of those few hours I found Three books. Then there were two books on diversity and how children look different around the world, but it was divided into male and female.

None of those three had a real story to them...

I finally found one book that fit what I was looking for.

BTW, US population:

69.9%
12.1% of the population is African American
3.6% are Asian/Pacific Islander
2.3% are mixed race/multi-ethnic.
0.7% are Native American and Alaskan Native.

Ironically, the only one reflected with more percentage of the population is the Native American. Even so, I still think that children can benefit from reading about other places and people.

Kim Fierce
07-09-2013, 12:35 AM
I work in a diverse place and live in a diverse town, so sometimes those numbers surprise me! It's like hearing there are only 2-10% population gay people in the whole country. When I was younger living in a small town I'd believe it but I have found a town/work environment where the percentage is much higher, so it seems like a bigger number to me now.

I think eventually the diversity should be better in kid's books. *fingers crossed*