Scholastic book clubs blasted for selling video games


Scholastic's wildly popular school book clubs have won considerable praise for offering families quality books at good prices and giving teachers a chance to earn points toward books for their classrooms.

But in recent years, the company has increased the number of non-book items it sells through its school book clubs, and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childgood is none too pleased. The non-profit reports that fully one-third of the items for sale are either not books or are books packaged with more frivolous items. Scholastic products sold through school books clubs in 2008 included "M&M's Kart Racing Wii videogame, the Princess Room Alarm, Monopoly® SpongeBob SquarePants™ Edition computer game, lip gloss and a Hannah Montana bracelet."

The CCFC has a really good point here. Parents are constantly bombarded by their kids with requests for more toys, and they shouldn't have to deal with teachers handing out order forms for video games. That seems obvious.

A Scholastic executive told The Associated Press that the company would not change its program in response to the criticism and added that
"some kids learn through video games" like M&M's Kart Racing Wii." Yeah. Right. She legitimately points out that the company has to stay in touch with students' interests but that's not the point: The real question is whether a merchant of video games and Hannah Montana bracelets should receive access to students through the imputed credibility of elementary school teachers. The answer to that question is, I think, a resounding "No!"

CCFC has an email that you can send to Scholastic to urge them to stop selling non-book products in its book orders.