The Book Industry Study Group, a nonprofit research organization that annually takes the pulse of the publishing industry, says in its latest forecast that "increasing concern about the quality of education" will be one of several trends sustaining the field's healthy outlook over the next five years.
Though sales of elementary and secondary textbooks will be sluggish, the group reports, the high level of activity in the children's-book market will continue, fed both by demographics--the baby-boomers' childbearing years--and by trends such as "increased awareness of education and learning, the introduction of non-textbooks into the classroom, and attitudes of working parents to improve the quality of life of their children."
The Walt Disney Company is one new player hoping to cash in on the boom in children's books. This summer, it announced the formation of its own book-publishing company, Disney Press, which will publish books based on the Disney characters. In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, the company will expand Muppet Press, to be acquired as part of Henson Associates Inc., and will have a third imprint, not yet named, that will publish "high-quality juvenile books without a Disney or Muppet connection."
In its article, the Journal quoted the new enterprise's marketing director, Lauren Wohl, a veteran in children's publishing, as saying Disney would go after the school market: "Why couldn't Mickey Mouse be part of a new reading textbook?" she asked.
Start-ups of new children's magazines this fall are yet another indication of the relative good health of children's publishing. Of particular interest are Ladybug, aimed at developing the reading skills of children between the ages of 2 and 7, and Calliope, a bimonthly for 5th through 10th graders promising to make world history "come alive."
Both magazines were launched this month--Ladybug by the creators of the popular elementary-school-age periodical Cricket, and Calliope by Cobblestone Publishing Inc.
The subscription rate for 12 issues of Ladybug is $29.97. Orders should be addressed to Ladybug, 315 Fifth Street, Peru, Ill. 61354. Calliope, to be issued five times a year, has a subscription rate of $17.95. Write to: Cobblestone Publishing, 30 Grove St., Peterborough, N.H. 03458.
Science PROBE!, another new magazine debuting this fall, is aimed at science enthusiasts of all ages. The quarterly will feature experiments of amateur scientists, winning exhibits from regional science fairs, and do-it-yourself science projects. It will also review new lab instruments, articles, and books. Information on subscriptions ($9.95) is available from Science PROBE!, 500-B County Blvd., Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735.--skg & msr