{Between the Lines}

The Agents of Books & Such Literary Management Muse About Books, Publishing, and Life

Toys in the Bookstore

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

I was planning to write on this topic anyway, but now with the news of Family Christian Stores going out of business it is even more relevant. I am very sad to see more bookstores go out of business. Family Christian is the only Christian bookstore in my area–at least that I’m aware of.

I was shopping at Barnes & Noble this week with my children. We ended up purchasing the new Herve Tullet book, Let’s Play!. My daughter loves those books so when she saw the new one she was begging me for it. This is the joy of a bookstore, in my opinion. You discover a great book and are able to pick it up and enjoy it right away. The book wasn’t the only thing my daughter was begging me for though. Barnes & Noble is FILLED with toys now. She is a huge fan of “blind boxes” and “blind bags.” These are the boxes and bags with a surprise toy inside. You don’t know what you get until you open it. Barnes & Noble has nearly every kind of blind box that is available! We left the store with two blind boxes and the book. (Yes, I’m a pushover and I enjoy spoiling her and supporting bookstores.) The store is also filled with stuffed animals and I noticed a large Harry Potter merchandise section.

It makes me a little sad, but I think my daughter thinks of bookstores as toy stores more than as places to buy books. If I say let’s go to the bookstore, I think the first thing she thinks of is all of the toys. I understand why the stores are stocking toys–it’s a big draw for the kids. And parents (parents like me, anyway) don’t always say no. The bookstores need to be able to make ends meet and the toys help them to meet their sales goals. But doesn’t it take away a bit of the magic of a bookstore? It does for me. I want my kids to be excited about getting a new book when I take them to a bookstore. I don’t want to have to ask them to get a book instead of a toy. And my daughter does well when I say no to her, but I’m sure other parents have to deal with temper tantrums when they won’t buy a toy, too. Maybe some parents are less likely to bring their kids with them because of the abundance of toys. And I believe bookstores (and/or libraries) are an important place for kids to explore and to experience.

What do you think about toys in the bookstore? Is it a good thing or not?

When was the last time you were in a local bookstore? Did you see a large number of toys? 


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