We’re really happy that award-winning children’s publisher Usborne Books have confirmed to us their decision to stop producing books with ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’ in the title.
Usborne were the first publisher to respond positively to the #LetBooksBeBooks campaign, telling Guardian Books on 7 March that they took feedback on the gender-specific titles very seriously, and had no plans to produce any new gender-specific titles.
Currently, Usborne lists over 30 gendered books on their website, with titles such as Cookbook for Girls, Cookbook for Boys, Illustrated Classics for Girls and Illustrated Classics for Boys.
In a recent meeting with LetToysBeToys, Anna Howorth, Marketing & Publicity Manager for Usborne Books, confirmed this decision, and said: “Usborne will be retitling all of our books titled ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ (with obvious, necessary exceptions – for instance Growing Up For Boys/Growing Up for Girls). From a commercial point of view, people do buy these books, and we will probably be losing money.”
Peter Usborne, Founder of Usborne books, added: “We may lose some sales over this; we will do this because it is the right thing to do.”
We are really pleased that a respected publisher like Usborne is making this change, living up to its commitment to “investing in the future through the children who read, learn from and treasure Usborne books.”
Gendered books clearly do sell, or else publishers wouldn’t make them – but we think this divisive method of marketing has harmful consequences, and doesn’t reflect what children really want.
Please let Usborne books know what you think: