Scholastic Book Fairs: the good, the bad, the ugly

A few weeks ago, my mother agreed to run a Scholastic Book Fair for a local school. Unfortunately, she forgot that she was going to be traveling for the first three days of the week-long-fair... which means, naturally, that *I* am currently enjoying my first up-close-and-personal interaction with a Scholastic Book Fair.

The good:
The reps are great, the point-of-sale system couldn't be more user-friendly, and they've got a pretty good range of titles. Setting up the entire thing took about two hours--these people really know what they're doing.

The bad:
Apparently, getting things like signs can take up to fifteen days, and they don't send e-mail updates when you put in an order. What kind of customer service is that? Also, their book selection is crazy lopsided--we have about 75 copies of the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, but no Hunger Games or Catching Fire, and they failed to send the early books in either Jeff Smith's Bone series or Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, which means that kids are going to have to go elsewhere if they haven't already started the books. I'm going to call and try to fix some of these deficiencies, but who knows how that'll work out.

The ugly:
Well, there's this. And this. Not behavior to be proud of, Scholastic.

The verdict? This is a very user-friendly approach to book fairs, and a low-stress option for a small school like the one I'm working with. I'm very interested in hearing more about locally-run book fairs* (apparently The Secret Garden Bookshop in Seattle offers one, which I might investigate), but there's no denying that Scholastic runs the kind of tightly-organized fair that lends itself to being run by almost anyone--even a highly disorganized book critic who was volunteered at the last minute by her mother.

*It would be nice to sell something other than Scholastic publications.
Posted by: Julianka


10 Nov, 2009 10:34 PM @ version 0

Scholastic's policies about altering books while not acknowledging the changes and while maintaining the Best Books for Young Adults winner status on the altered version is as unsurprising as it is disappointing. Of course they want to advertise, "We're completely clean and always have been, and we're awesome." The altering of Luv Ya Bunches surprised me, though. That somehow does not follow their claimed credo.

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