Did you hear about the stampedes that took place all around the country over the release of $180 “retro” Air Jordans? I was already thinking about launching a new literacy initiative but this news prompted me to act sooner rather than later. According to a recent article in The Root, African American buying power is approaching $1.1 trillion. Target Market News breaks down the consumer data to show that in 2009, African Americans spent $321 million on books—that’s a lot of money, but it’s clear that a lot more money was spent on other goods and services (including $2.8 billion on non-alcoholic beverages). So how do we get people to invest more money in books? I’d love to poll all those people who lined up for sneakers last night and find out just how many books they have in their home. Because we know that having a home library increases a child’s chance of succeeding in school. Buying sneakers is not an investment—buying books IS. But I’m not trying to guilt parents into surrendering their sneakers and video games or any of the other things on which they spend their disposable income. Instead I think we should take a “village” approach. If you know a child who’s growing up without books, do something about it when that child’s birthday rolls around. If you want to buy toys for your child, then ask your family and friends to buy books so that your child gets the best of both worlds. I’m hoping people will take the Birthday Party Pledge and commit to giving books as gifts for at least ONE year. I’ve set up a new site and we hope to do an official launch in 2012. Do you think we can convince people to take the pledge?
I’m thoroughly enjoying my low-consumption Christmas and hope you’re enjoying the holidays, too!