I recently "met" Michael Arguello, an American writer, illustrator and designer of children’s books on Jacketflap.com, an online resource for children's book writers, publishers, agents, illustrators, librarians and teachers.
Michael’s family owns and manages Funkelbright Books, a small company which publishes books that glow in the dark, allowing for kids to read them in the dark. The process enabling the books to glow is, of course, top secret,
As an African, I couldn’t help but consider how handy these books would be for communities that don’t have electricity, or which have persistent power failure.
The books could be lent to kids as part of the mobile library programme or the process licensed from Michael to enable local publishers to develop their own range of glow-in-the-dark books.
The biggest challenge is the cost. Funkelbright Books are available at $19.95 (R139.65) per book.
Printing costs are already too high, with many South African publishers outsourcing the printing to other countries, where it is cheaper (like Malaysia).
Publishers at a recent event arranged by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Gauteng chapter) mentioned that they can’t even publish board books- too pricey. Still, these books gave me something to think about.
For more information about books that glow in the dark, go to www.blacklightbooks.com