10 Jul Why Choose Usborne Books?
By Angela Anaya, Scramble Bookstore Manager
At Scramble Bookstore, we have made a conscious effort to solely stock books that fall under the Education Development Corporation (EDC). To explain, the books published by Usborne Publishing, a British company, are sold exclusively in the United States by EDC. EDC owns Kane Miller Publishing, an internationally known children’s book publisher, and, of course, sells its books. I think that Scramble bookstore has the most Usborne Books available in a store in the U.S. and it also carries some of my favorite Kane Miller titles too! In this blogpost, which draws heavily on information available on this UK site: https://usborne.com/childrens-books/, I want to talk about the quality and special characteristics of Usborne books.
First though, a quick history of the publishing house itself. Usborne Publishing got its start in 1973 when Peter Usborne received a phone call from his wife telling him that he was going to be a father. His life and work goals quickly changed directions. Although he had been working in the publishing world and had co-founded the satirical magazine Private Eye, he soon established a very different company, Usborne Publishing. His aim was to create a new generation of books that were innovative and exciting. He wanted books that would attract children, get them to open the pages, and then to read the information inside – he wanted books that could be “played with”. This standard has set the headmark for every Usborne book published.
Peter Usborne once stated, “Children are clever – they are our equals. We shouldn’t talk down to them but look across at them. Books should be friendly, and as much like magnets as possible. They should be reliable and accurate, stylish and artistic. Books should help get you off your couch so you’re not just sitting there watching TV and chewing gum. They should promote wondering. They should be better than good.”
More than 40 years later, Usborne continues to raise the bar to new heights. Many wonder how Usborne Publishing has continued to grow in an era of movies and e-books? He believes that central to their success is the company motto “Do It Better.”
While other publishers usually commission outside writers to write books for them, Usborne children’s books are created almost entirely in-house by a team of 35+ editor/writers and over 50 designers. This allows Usborne to have complete creative control and take as much time as necessary to ensure the book is just right. It isn’t unheard of for them to take up to two years to publish a single book because they believe that quality comes from time, care, attention, skill, and passion. Usborne employees are the best and the brightest in their field. They are expected to think like kids and experience things like kids, with wonder and curiosity.
Today, Usborne Books are sold in shops around the world, and are published in more than 100 different languages. Because Usborne books are sold worldwide, they not only must conform to the British and European toy safety standards, but also those of the other countries where Usborne books are sold. A single book can be submitted for more than 70 different tests to ensure that you can trust that it is completely safe for your child.
Rather than just relying on testing the final project for safety, Usborne takes steps to ensure that every book is produced safely, as well as responsibly and ethically. Usborne is part of The Book Chain project that gives publishers the tools to be able to chart their book supply chains, including the origins of the tree fibers in the papers (PREPS); the level of safety of the chemicals in the inks, glues and varnishes (PIPS); and the working conditions of the factories where the books are made (PRELIMS).
We hope you will stop in the next time you are in Scramble and visit us in the bookstore. You will fall in love with these books just as quickly as we have!
Check out these links for more information:
Safety testing Usborne Children’s books. 2018. Peter Usborne. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8zw-9lOzvs
Usborne Supplier Code of Conduct. https://usborne.com/media/1567/usborne-supplier-code-of-conduct.pdf
Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement. https://usborne.com/media/1707/slavery-and-human-trafficking-statement.pdf
Scramble Bookstore Manager
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