ONE FOR THE BOOKS: PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR KIDS The country’s first publisher of children’s books proves there is a big market for all-original stories steeped in Filipino culture, experiences, and values.
The local children’s book industry has been faring quite well lately, as shown by the noteworthy growth of Adarna House, the country’s first and largest publisher of children’s books. And local titles of children’s books are selling even better than their foreign counterparts, even if more of the latter are being carried today by Philippine bookstores.
This overall growth of the market for children’s books can be gleaned from the 2006 sales figures of National Book Store, the country’s biggest bookstore chain. As reported by Jaileen F. Jimeno, deputy executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the bookstore chain sold 88 percent of its stock of children’s books in 2006, up two percentage points from the previous year.
The Adarna House has been a major proponent of locally produced children’s books as well as a leading contributor to the growth of the industry. It was established in 1979 specifically to produce a series of storybooks in support of the mental feeding program of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines.
Since then, however, it has grown into a major publisher of children’s books that feature all-original stories steeped in Filipino culture, experiences, and values, with Filipino children as their central characters.