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reading ages August 19, 2008

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , trackback

I was surprised to see that a large number of authors and others in the UK, led by Phillip Pullman, are campaigning against indications of age guidance on book covers. They have a number of reasons for doing so, one of which is that:

Everything about a book is already rich with clues about the sort of reader it hopes to find – jacket design, typography, cover copy, prose style, illustrations. These are genuine connections with potential readers, because they appeal to individual preference. An age-guidance figure is a false one, because it implies that all children of that age are the same.

I have no idea why they are so upset. The Publishers’ Association has been thinking for some time about this issue and thinks that age guidance will encourage people to buy books. US published books for young people are marked with suggested age ranges. They are often not very prominent – you can find them if you look, but they don’t jump out at you – but they can be useful. Do these authors really want children to learn to make purchasing decisions based on the manipulations of marketers who design the packaging for products rather than on data about what is inside?


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