Hachette is eleventh UK publisher to #LetBooksBeBooks

UK children’s books publisher Hachette is the eleventh publisher to confirm that it will “let books be books” and ditch the gender labels on its book covers

Let Books Be Books campaigners are pleased that Hachette and its imprints, including Hodder’s Children’s and Orchard Books, are no longer selling or publishing gendered titles.

Picture via @shireenbee 12 May 2015

Concerns had been raised about titles such as the Dig Dig Digging book (pictured above), published by Orchard Books, which had “Brilliant Books for Busy Boys” on the wheel of the front cover.


Hachette robin hoodBeaOthers on Twitter had highlighted the “Books for Boys” series, expressing bafflement as to why the labels were on the books. One nine year old child commented, “I’m really annoyed cos this label tells girls to back off and it looks like a really great book.”


Although Hachette had not responded with an update to the Let Toys Be Toys tweets, a supporter spotted the changed book covers and alerted the campaign, and we have subsequently confirmed that gendered titles had been discontinued, the remaining copies pulped, and that there were no plans to publish any gendered titles in the future.


Fen Coles from children’s bookseller Letterbox Library, who are partners of the #LetBooksBeBooks campaign, said, “We are delighted to hear that Hachette have announced they will no longer be targeting specific genders on their covers. As a bookseller, this is the best news – the schools and nurseries who buy from us feel very put off my book labelling which excludes half of their pupils! More books for everyone! We couldn’t be happier.”

Campaigner Tessa Trabue added: “Although some of these titles were likely published with the best intentions in mind – i.e. to encourage more boys to read – there is no evidence that labelling books in this way actually does have a positive impact on encouraging boys to read.  In fact, labelling a subsection of books in this way is likely to have a detrimental effect by inferring that boys are a special interest group which is not expected to be interested in reading.  Also, deciding which subject matter in a particular book should be for boys is based on stereotypical ideas of what boys are supposed to like. We’re really pleased that Hachette has decided to ditch these labels, and the stereotypes, so that all children can feel free to enjoy these stories.”

For further details about Let Toys Be Toys and the #LetBooksBeBooks campaign, please email lettoysbetoys@gmail.com.

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