This is Books of Keeps’s 30th birthday issue and we would like to thank our subscribers and the many authors and publishers who have sent birthday wishes. Thank you all for your support which is warmly appreciated!
Books for Keeps had its genesis in the School Bookshop Association. Founded in 1976, the SBA’s aim was to have a bookshop in every school run by teachers and/or parents which would enable children to have access to a wide range of books which they could own and read for pleasure. Today, it is taken for granted (OK, readers of BfK take it for granted…) that reading for pleasure is something that every child should be able to do by right. But in the 1970s when reading schemes dominated, this was a revolutionary idea.
Times changed. School bookshops have long since been replaced by other ways of getting books to young readers. In 1980 the SBA’s publication School Bookshop News was replaced by Books for Keeps which had a larger remit, reaching out to parents and to all the professionals who work with children and their books as well as teachers.
Books for Keeps – a new future online
Now, after 30 years and 182 issues of BfK, it is again time for a radical rethink and fresh changes. The digital revolution is upon us and BfK wants to broaden its remit yet further by embracing the exciting possibilities offered by new technologies. They will afford us many new opportunities to extend the scope of the information and coverage we can offer.
This May 30th birthday issue is therefore the last print edition of Books for Keeps and our July issue, BfK No.183, will be our first online only edition. From July we plan to have a Digital Edition, in print magazine format, but with exciting additions, which can be downloaded or viewed online at our website www.booksforkeeps.co.uk. We don’t think you will be disappointed!
Sign-up for the new Books for Keeps Newsletter
From July we also plan to email a regular Newsletter, highlighting the latest reviews, articles, children’s book news and site developments. To sign up for the new BfK Newsletter, go to www.booksforkeeps.co.uk and follow the Newsletter link. Alternatively your email address can be phoned or faxed or sent to email@example.com.*
The innovations we are putting in place are of course expensive. A grant from Arts Council England in 2008 enabled us to create our new website. More recently a generous donation (for which we are most grateful) from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous is helping to fund further developments. And while we are sad to be leaving behind the majesty of print, the new online BfK will of course be maintaining the editorial standards and independence that have made it, in the words of Philip Pullman: ‘the most important periodical in the world of children’s books’.
Ours is not the only birthday to be celebrated this month. Congratulations are due to two of our most innovative and trail blazing publishers – Walker Books which is also celebrating its 30th birthday and Puffin which is now 70. Meanwhile Seven Stories, The Centre for Children’s Books, the first UK museum wholly dedicated to children’s books, will be celebrating its 5th birthday in August.
* Email addresses will be used by Books for Keeps only for the purpose of emailing the Newsletter and will not be disclosed to third parties.