Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Mark: McDonald's to be Britian's Largest Retailer of Children's Books


Would you like a book with that?

U.K. McDonald’s will hand out 9 million book vouchers in children’s Happy Meals for titles by Michael Marpurgo, author of the highly acclaimed War Horse.

The voucher entitles holders to buy a copy of the books for only £1 at WHSmith Stores — 20 per cent of the typical £4.99 retail price.

For fidgety tots who might express outrage at the delayed gratification, finger puppets relating to the Mudpuddle Farm books will also be included in the burger and fries combo.

The fast food chain’s four-week promotion, a partnership with publisher HarperCollins, launched Wednesday and says it aims to boost literacy and creativity among children. It also coincides with the War Horse movie launch this Friday.

No word yet if a similar giveaway will happen in Canada.

The promotion comes on the heels of National Literacy Trust research saying one in three British children — nearly four million — do not own a book.

“We are very supportive of McDonald’s decision to give families access to popular books,” said National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas in a statement. “Its size and scale will be a huge leap towards encouraging more families to read together.”

There is a “clear link” between book ownership and a child’s future success, Douglas said.
McDonald’s mass book giveaway will make it the largest children’s book retailer in Britain over the next month, according to the Telegraph.

Despite the positive reactions to this campaign, the battle against Happy Meal giveaways has heated up in the past few months. Legislation in San Francisco stopped the burger joint from giving away free toys in an effort to curb childhood obesity and promote healthier eating.

McDonald’s responded by charging 10 cents for the toys in December 2011.

Last July, the fast food giant said it would sell smaller packs of fries and apple slices in its Happy Meals after sustained criticism that the fun-filled, calorie-laden meals contribute to obesity.

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