ABA Offers Resources to Help CBS' Early Readers Club

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On Thursday, July 17, ABA wrote the producers of The Early Show regarding its Early Readers Club and offered possible ways that the association and independent booksellers might work together with CBS, which broadcasts the show. The Early Readers Club debuted on June 25 with the goal of promoting children's literacy. Guests on the show have included First Lady Laura Bush and American Library Association President Carla Hayden, executive director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore.

In the letter, ABA COO Oren Teicher suggested that the association and the network might discuss ways that such resources as the Book Sense Children's 76 and the weekly Book Sense Bestseller List might be integrated into the information presented to parents and other caregivers by the Early Readers Club. In addition, he noted that BookSense.com might serve as a vehicle for TV viewers to donate books to First Book, a national nonprofit organization that works to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and to own their first new books.

When The Early Show first presented its first Early Readers Club segment, many independent booksellers questioned why information regarding early literacy and suggested titles was presented solely through one retailer, Amazon.com, which was also the only purchase option for donated books. Following that show, the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) contacted CBS, and, in further correspondence, ABC President Monica Holmes, of Hicklebee's Children's Books in San Jose, California, has offered such ABC materials as its "Choices" list as possible resources for viewers.

In the weeks following the launch of the Early Readers Club, The Early Show Web site's coverage of the initiative has evolved. It now presents all relevant consumer information as separate links. However, the only book donation option continues to be Amazon.com.

Following the first show, ABA President Ann Christophersen also wrote First Lady Laura Bush. Representatives of the First Lady subsequently contacted Christophersen to make clear to ABA and to independent booksellers that the Early Readers Club was a CBS undertaking. They noted that Mrs. Bush was not aware of any exclusive arrangements regarding the sale of books.