When, in 1918, a clerk erroneously ordered twelve times the number of children’s books, Western Publishing Company may have faced ruin. Instead, the company persuaded Woolworth’s department stores to sell it, a practice unusual since children’s books were normally only sold during the holiday season.
Years later, in the 1930s, one publishing novice was inspired when his three-year-old tossed a picture book into the bathtub, which destroyed it, of course. He reflected at the time that
given the wear and tear to which children naturally subjected all their belongings, lower-priced books might be greatly appreciated by parents. (p 29)
Such are two very small stories illustrating how (and why) Golden Books roared to life in 1942. In Golden Legacy, Leonard Marcus shows how the development of Golden Books changed the face of children’s book publishing forever because of resourceful people who thought outside the box. For the first time, children’s books were 25 cents, and not $2 or $3. Instead of buying just one book, parents bought twelve. Children had many books at their disposal, and The Poky Little Puppy has since been the best-selling children’s picture book of all time. (more…)