I'm sure I'm not the only person who has fond memories of the Scholastic Book Club. My parents, who were saintly enough to support my book habit, would give me a set amount of money, and I would pour over that circular, printed on flimsy, thinner-than-newsprint paper, to figure out how to get the most books for the money.
It seems that things have changed with the Scholastic Book Club. As reported in the New York Times, a watchdog group says that Scholastic is misusing the book club to sell non-book products.
Certainly we can appreciate the points raised by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: children and teens seem to be subjected to an endless barrage of commercials and tie-in products nowadays. Yet I can't help seeing Scholastic's side of the issue, in that reluctant readers might need the hook of stickers or a game to bring them to a book. Plus, there's been plenty of discussion about how video games also encourage literacy and learning.
Perhaps Scholastic could choose products to include in the book club flier that are a bit less commercial, but if the end result means that a child or a teen learns and develop a new skill, I have a hard time finding the negative.
What are your thoughts?