Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Shopping – is it still a childhood experience?

It has been sitting in the bargains basket for months – perfect in every way except for the markdown sticker. In John Burningham’s Shopping Basket (Red Fox), Stephen’s trip to the grocer becomes an encounter with marauding animals. Using his wits, he manages to outsmart them all and arrives home in time for tea.  Why doesn’t someone buy it?  Is shopping no longer an adventure?  Doesn’t anyone go shopping in person anymore?

Stories about shopping were a very important part of my children’s lives but I’ve struggled to find newer titles for our grandson. I can find:

Eric Hill’s Spot goes shopping (Warne) where Spot helps his mother at the supermarket.

Tracey Corderoy & Joe Berger Spells-A-Popping Granny’s Shopping (Nosy Crow).  Pandora likes life to be normal but Granny likes to magic things along, so their trip to the supermarket is anything but ordinary.

Anna Dewdney Llama Llama Shopping Drama (Hachette).  Llama Llama isn’t happy that Mama wants to do a little shopping so soon everything is flying out of the shopping cart.

If you know of other shopping titles suitable for a book loving two year old, please let me know.

Amazon.com (my comments – not endorsed by CBCA)
Often over the last four and a half years, I’ve had to defend myself against complaints of “exploitation of book buyers” and I’ve also learned that some people do not know the vastness of Amazon’s reach.  Recently, I’ve been bombarded by news articles featuring Amazon. This is an attempt to list some dot points in answer to those complaints   

Some will know that the company owns ABE Books www.abebooks.com  but did you know that Book Depository www.bookdepository.com  and Good Reads www.goodreads.com  are also owned by them?  www.salon.com/2013/10/23/how_amazon_and_goodreads_could_lose_their_best_readers/

Book Depository (and other online) purchases exploit Australia’s lack of First Class mail; under international postal union obligations Australia Post is forced to deliver overseas parcels less than 400gm at their own cost.

Recent issues of Publishers’ Weekly have been full of the as yet unresolved dispute between Amazon and Hachette.  The story appears to be that in an attempt to negotiate a bigger share of e-book royalties, Amazon instituted shipping delays of three to five weeks for the books of many Hachette authors, including J. K. Rowling, James Patterson and Douglas Preston.  There have been suggestions that if a publisher did not give Amazon what it wanted, some of its books might disappear from the site.  ”It was the equivalent of a physical store putting you back by the discounted gardening equipment, where no one will ever find you.”

The German Publishers’ Association filed a complaint with German Federal Antitrust Authority because it believes Amazon’s dominance in the market detracts from consumer choice as it eventually leads to fewer outlets selling books.

French lawmakers adopted a bill aimed at preventing Amazon and other online giants from offering free deliveries of discounted books, in a bid to support the country's small bookshops. nytimes.com/2014/07/10/opinion/pamela-druckerman-the-french-do-buy-books-real-books.html

Amazon hit back by charging customers just one centime (1.4 cents) for books dispatched to their homeswww.thelocal.fr/page/view/tag/Amazon 

And finally, distinguished children’s author Allan Ahlberg declined the inaugural Booktrust Best Book Awards‘ Lifetime Achievement Award, because it is sponsored by Amazon.



  1. Gosh I hope shopping is still a fun time for kids and families. Have no grand children but hope to enjoy this experience one day with future ones...online shopping is convenient but not as much fun

  2. I had no idea that Amazon owns ABE Books, Book Depository and Good Reads. Appalling! Thanks for letting me know.
    Julie Hunt