Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, whose president and publisher Rick Richter expressed hopes last fall that the Children's Book Council would beef up its marketing efforts, has not renewed its membership. While Richter declined to speak with PW about the move, publicity director Paul Crichton said that the decision was not permanent, adding that "we will reassess our position next year."
CBC executive director Robin Adelson, who joined the organization in September, said that she was aware that S&S had been considering whether or not to remain in the organization. "We're in a period of great change and transition, and I have every confidence that we're moving in a direction of great strength," she said. "I wish Simon & Schuster could be a part of it. I hope and expect that we'll become the kind of organization that they'll want to rejoin."
Richter served on the CBC board that selected Adelson as the new executive director (see Children's Books, Nov. 18). At that time, Richter told PW he felt there was "an opportunity, from S&S's point of view, for the CBC to become more of a PR and marketing operation than it currently is." Although annual membership fees are strictly confidential, CBC dues can run in the tens of thousands of dollars for the largest publishers; however, S&S's Crichton said, "It's not about the money."
Little, Brown Children's Books, which did not renew its CBC membership in 2006, under then-publisher David Ford's leadership, is still undecided about whether to rejoin. However, publisher Megan Tingley said that she is meeting with Adelson later this month and is "open to hearing about their plans."
Ian Falconer, who was slated to create the Children's Book Week poster for 2007, and whose books about Olivia are published by S&S, had not yet turned in his artwork, according to CBC board president Simon Boughton. Given the recent developments, the board will select an alternate illustrator for the poster. "This is one of the things that we do as a trade association, and it does ultimately promote our members," Adelson explained. "The choice [for the Children's Book Week poster] has always been an illustrator whose work is published by one of our members."
Other CBC board members expressed confidence in the CBC's new direction. As Harcourt's Lori Benton put it, "There are a lot of extremely exciting things happening and I'm sorry that [S&S] won't be with us initially, but we'll welcome them back when they're ready."