Collecting Activity Books with TV Tie-ins
...the single best collection I've ever seen--and my job has given me the chance over many years to see a number of very fine collections--was formed by people who knew things I did not and built a collection that it would never have occurred to me to suggest.
--Daniel Traister, Are There New Paths for Book Collectors?
I must admit, collecting children's activity books that have a TV tie-in is not something that I would likely think of on my own. Yet many such books exist. Is anyone collecting them?
These types of books have been published for several decades. Not all of them tie-in to what one normally would think of as specifically children's television programming.
I can see how historians of popular culture might put a collection of such books to good use. Especially where such a collection ranges widely across time and subject matter, it could be examined to determine how ideas of what constitute "child-appropriate" entertainment have changed over time. This might be suggested not only by the activities contained within such books, but also by the TV shows to which such books are tied.
Business historians could mine such a collection to answer questions like ... What do the TV tie-ins say about the relative marketing clout of competing segments of the entertainment industry (TV vs. movies)? Or ... What do the TV tie-ins say about the extent to which society's fears and concerns at particular points in time become fodder for profit-making by the entertainment industry? Or ... What do the TV tie-ins say about the ability of publishers to "think outside the box?"
Because most institutional libraries do not collect books that have been marked up by young readers (an activity book's raison d'être), future historians of the book likely will have very little to work with unless some private collector, somewhere, is avidly collecting such books....