Industry Notes: Amazon ‘Prime Book Boxes’ for Children; National Book Festival September 1

In News by Porter Anderson

Having tested the program on an invitational basis for three months, Amazon rolls out its children’s book boxes offer to the US Prime membership. And the Library of Congress holds its annual National Book Festival this weekend.

From Amazon’s Prime Book Box promotional material. Parents choose from age groups Baby to 2, 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12 years of age

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Amazon Expands ‘Prime Book Box’
Amazon has expanded its Prime Book Box for children’s titles to its complete US Prime list of consumers, after testing the program since May as an invitational offering.

In its media messaging on Tuesday (August 28), the company describes the offering as “a subscription service that delivers curated children’s books every one, two, or three months.” The books selected for the program are hardcover and come at a price that’s “up to 35 percent off list price.”

Selections appear to be made by human beings identified as “Amazon’s team of book editors,” rather than by algorithms, and each box comes at US$22.99. And the choices being offered apparently are sourced from many publishers, not just from Amazon Publishing’s own imprints such as Two Lions, which Publishing Perspectives covered recently.

In media messaging, for example, the announcement mentions these titles as examples of a book box’s contents:

  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Hyperion Books, 2003)
  • Amazing Airplanes (Macmillan/Kingfisher, 2017)
  • Malala’s Magic Pencil (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017)
  • Nevermoor (Hachette/(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017)

Set up to offer titles for children from infants to 12 years of age, the program is using a prepared quote from Seira Wilson, Amazon Books senior editor, who says, “As a mom who’s spent over 20 years reading and reviewing children’s books, the best part of my job is sharing a love of reading with kids and their families.

“Over the past few months, it’s been both exciting and rewarding to hear that Prime Book Box is encouraging kids to spend more time reading. Now that Prime Book Box is available to all US Prime members, I hope we can inspire even more children to discover a love of reading that will last a lifetime.”

Library of Congress: National Book Festival

The 18th edition of the US Library of Congress’ National Book Festival in Washington, DC, on Saturday (September 1) is to be staged at the Washington Convention Center, doors opening at 8:30 a.m. and programming going until 7:30 p.m.

Weekend observances in the capital city of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) National Cathedral funeral services are expected to cause some adjustments to transit schedules, the program is going forward with several marquee authors onboard:

  • Amy Tan appears onstage at 12:50 p.m. ET, with a book signing at 2:30 p.m.
  • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is onstage at 2:15 p.m. ET with a book signing at 4 p.m.
  • Dave Eggers is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET
  • US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer is set for 11:25 a.m.
  • Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is scheduled for 3:40 p.m.
  • John Meacham is set for 5 p.m.

A full listing of authors anticipated at the festival is here.

The full schedule of events is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.