Monday, January 26, 2009

Children’s Book Publishers

There’s a dark cloud looming for children’s book publishers and the storm may hit as early as February 10th. It’s possible that these publishers will be required to give 3rd party proof that any books published by them does not contain lead.

Now, it sounds good. We all know that lead is dangerous to children. But providing such proof for every title published would put some publishers, especially small presses, out of business.

According to Publishers Weekly,
On January 22, the Consumer Products Safety Commission held a public meeting, requested by the Association of American Publishers, during which AAP, along with representatives from major children’s publishers, printers, and manufacturers of components, presented additional evidence to the CPSC’s science team and General Counsel that children’s books do not contain lead. The presentation included additional results from more than 150 tests of finished products, which have been added to the mass of evidence already compiled about the safety of components.
This is something all writers, especially children’s authors, should keep an eye on. Vivian Zabel with 4RV Publishing has been doing a wonderful job of getting the information out to writers, including names and contact information for representatives.

Bookmark her site if you’re a children’s author, hope to be published in the children’s and YA genre, or want to support small publishers and fellow writers.


  1. IBPA and SPAN have been keeping their members updated with information & news releases as well.

    They are still fighting to keep books off the list, although it appears unlikely that will happen before the February 10 deadline...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. This seems like a scenario that you think just won't happen, but Feb. 10 is coming soon. It's a scary prospect for small presses and their authors.

  3. It seems like a law with good intentions has gotten a little off course with this development. I've been following Vivian's blog and the news on this, and it really is scary. As the grandmother of 3 little boys, I'm concerned with quality children's books continuing to be available for them and all other children.

  4. It does seem like things have gone awry. I hope it gets fixed before major damage is done.

  5. When I was in the home improvement business I witnessed costs rise so high to comply with asbestos and lead paint removal/abatement mandated procedures that many small businesses went belly up. Even bankrupted the Chicago elementary school system. Now it's showing up in the book industry?

  6. In their attempts to make sure children aren't exposed to lead, they went overboard and the law will include testing children's books.

    Thanks for weighing in, Marvin, with your first-hand expeience.

  7. Our libraries and schools are at risk with the CPSIA, too. The law is retroactive, meaning that libraries and schools have to prove that all books for children 12 and under must have been tested.

    Libraries are preparing to ban children from them or put books where children can't reach them.

    School will have to either pay to have all existing textbooks and reading books are tested or destroy them and buy all new tested ones.

    This law does not protect children. It will not only destroy small businesses but also literacy.

    Books don't have lead, unless something is added to the book such as certain wire coils, jewelry, or small toys with some lead.

    This situation is not a good one, and the media is too quiet, too.


  8. This sounds like a crazy situation that needs to be brought to the attention of a sensible authoritative legislator.

  9. That same PW article says publishers should have a General Certificate of Conformity on hand by Feb 10, something their printers should provide. Actual testing certs now pushed off until August, but hopefully by then the grassroots fight (that's us!) and the Senators starting to get involved should get rid of this crazy issue for publishers.

  10. My blog has all kinds of contact information, including the names and contact info for the men who crafted the act.

  11. Children's book not only do not contain lead, they do not contain much else either which, dear writers of children's books, is even a greater danger to children.

  12. I'm not a writer of children's books, but I've read tons of them to my kids when they were little. And there are some excellent ones out there. If you're having trouble finding good ones, perhaps your librarian could help you in choosing ones for your kids or to give as gifts.

  13. I want to be able to buy books for my grandson and take him to the library - our leaders did not think this act through. I hope common sense prevails.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  14. You have to believe that the powers that be will come to their senses and see the nonsense in this. On the other hand, why didn't they think this through in the first place?

  15. I hope this gets cleared up. I don't know why they can't use their brains instead of following blindly.

    Morgan Mandel


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