Publishing Column

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The trend toward consolidation of publishing houses and the resignation of a number of publishers from the Association of American Publishers have put the industry's leading membership organization on the brink of financial crisis.

Over the past three years, 20 members of the aap have been involved in mergers or acquisitions that, according to the association, have dealt a severe blow to the aap's revenue base. In addition, since January, 36 companies--out of a total membership of 260--have resigned from the association for financial reasons and because of concern that the aap is gravitating toward a "big-company orientation," according to the association.

Simon & Schuster, the second-largest publisher of elementary and secondary books and a member of the association's largest division--its school division--was the most recent company to pull out.

In an effort to offset the effects of the decline in membership, the association's board of directors has adopted a three-point plan that calls for the following actions: cost reductions of $100,000 to $150,000; further study of the association's dues structure, organization, and new sources of revenue; and a one-time special assessment of 10 percent on total aap revenues, payable between now and March 31 and designed to raise approximately $250,000.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is planning to give away as many as 500,000 out-of-date but still usable textbooks in an effort to improve literacy.

The books cannot be used in schools because they contain pre-1978 copyright dates or do not appear on the district's or state's current list of approved textbooks.

Until now, old schoolbooks have been donated on an annual basis to local private and parochial schools, nonprofit educational and charitable organizations, and disadvantaged families. But despite such efforts, the district's book depository remains overstocked, with an estimated 400,000 books.

In addition to those books, there may be another 100,000 texts stored in bookrooms and basements of local elementary and secondary schools, the district says.

Through the give-away program, called "Operation abc"--for "Accent on Book Conservation"--books will be made available to parents, students, and teachers at back-to-school nights, open houses, p.t.a. and advisory-council meetings, parent-education seminars, book fairs, and regular parent-teacher conferences.

The Sequoia Institute, a 13-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan public-policy organization, has launched a quarterly newsletter on education.

The publication, Education Newsletter, is designed to "circulate information about issues we see developing and report events we think are significant in education and education reform," said Roger Magyar, the institute's director of education studies.

The newsletter will focus on "what is done nationwide to utilize competition, parental choice, and performance incentives in the campaign to reform education," according to the introduction to the first issue. It will include information on state legislation, research findings, activities of education groups, and "newsworthy contributions of key individuals."

The institute has published one issue of the newsletter and plans to charge $15 to $20 for annual subscriptions. More information may be obtained from Mr. Magyar at the Sequoia Institute, 1822 21st St., Sacramento, Calif. 95814.

Scholastic Inc. has released its 1986 edition of Instructional Materials Catalog, a project guide to the company's line of educational materials for preschool and elementary- and secondary-school classroom use.

The 129-page catalog features hundreds of educational products, arranged by grade level and curriculum. The catalog includes products for language arts and reading, social studies, mathematics, science and health, computer skills, and career guidance.

Scholastic has mailed more than 150,000 copies of the catalog to elementary and secondary schools across the country. Individual administrators, teachers, and librarians may request free copies by writing to Scholastic Inc., Inquiry Department, 2931 East McCarty St., P.O. Box 7501, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102.

A high-school journalism teacher's tips on what good editing involves are now available to high-school and college teachers in a primer published by The Detroit Free Press.

The 20-page publication, Editing Workbook, was written by Bob Button, who teaches at Grosse Point (Mich.) South High School and is a part-time copy editor with the Free Press.

The booklet includes information on the elements of good copy editing and headline writing, a style guide to help students with editorial questions to which there may be more than one correct answer, and a four-page pull-out section that provides suggested answers for exercises based on stories printed in The Free Press.

The publication, printed on newsprint in a tabloid format, is described as being adaptable to various teaching levels, student abilities, and course requirements.

Educators may purchase one to five copies of Editing Workbook for 50 cents each, or six or more copies for 25 cents each. Additional information may be obtained by writing to the Educational Services Department, Detroit Free Press, 321 West Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48231, or by calling Sharon Zumberg, educational services coordinator, at (313) 222-6411.

The New York Pubic Library has published a bibliography of recommended children's books for teachers, librarians, parents, and others.

Children's Books, 1985--One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing has been produced annually since 1911 by the library's office of children's services and features new editions for preschool students and young and older children.

The titles listed in the publication were selected by a committee of children's librarians, who reviewed 3,000 children's books published during the last year. The criteria for selection included the overall quality of the writing, the originality of the point of view, the physical beauty of the book, the relationship of the text and pictures, the accuracy of nonfiction works, and the unity of illustrations in picture books.

The bibliography is divided into eight categories: holiday books, picture books, folk and fairy tales, nonfiction, poetry, stories for young readers, stories for older readers, and recordings and computer software. Copies of the booklist can be ordered by mail for $2 plus postage from the Office of the Branch Librarires, 455 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.--ab

Vol. 05, Issue 13

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