Feeling scammed by Scholastic? Not alone
A group of educators, health care professionals and parents has launched an e-mail protest campaign against Scholastic Corp., saying it's exploiting access to students by marketing toys, jewelry and character-driven packages in those fliers that come home every month.
The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood says about one-third of the items in the orders in elementary and middle schools are either not books or are books packaged with other things, like makeup or toys. Some examples from recent fliers include an M&M’s Kart Racing Wii video game, an American Idol event planner, the SpongeBob SquarePants Monopoly computer game, lip gloss rings, Nintendo’s Baby Pals video game, Hannah Montana posters and the Spy Master Voice Disguiser.
Scholastic brought in almost $337 million last year from the book club, which it started in 1948.
It's funny. I've been disappointed by this very thing each month when my daughter squeals with delight over the book orders. "Can't we please get a book," she says, then goes page by page pointing out all the things she wants. Books mostly, but sometimes makeup, or a toy PDA, or something else that doesn't meet my standard for usefulness.
The thing is, these fliers have the best deals on books. I've scored "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" for nearly half the cost at a bookstore. And there's always something featured for $1 or even $2. Well worth it for my 8-year-old voracious reader.
Still, I would be thankful to lose all the products tied to the latest movie they're marketing at my girls. And I certainly don't need another outlet for Wii games. I'm with the campaign. Clean it up, Scholastic.
-- Amy Hollyfield