In response to my previous blog on the CPSIA law banning the sale and distribution of pre-1985 books to children, I have received the following note, printed verbatim and with permission:
I have experienced the severity of this issue first-hand. I run the children's section at Half Price Books (a used book store, for those of you who don't know, though most of the kids books are new- remainder or overstock from publishing houses that we buy and sell at a discount), and a few weeks ago we had to purge anything and everything from the section that could potentially contain harmful levels of lead. Fortunately, the Powers That Be deemed any ink used on paper to be safe; in other words, plain ol' books are fine, and we can keep selling them.
As many of you know, however, kids books often come with all kinds of extras: markers, lights, sounds, mirrors, toys, etc. The criteria we were given for what books we needed to pull from the shelves included many of these extras. Specifically, we were told to pull anything that was made in either China or Mexico that contained metal, painted wood, or mirrors.
Initially, it didn't seem like this would have much of an impact on the kids section, but as I went through my section pulling everything that was potentially harmful, I soon realized that this was going to decimate my section. My display tables were over halfway empty, and there were half-empty or completely empty shelves all throughout the section. We had to get rid of some really wonderful books and kits, including a stack of about ten Disney DVD board games that we had just received not a week before. The kids cooking shelf went from being packed full to only having half a dozen books left, all because most of the cookbooks were spiral-bound with metal.
We didn't throw away the books; we packed them all up and sent them to our district warehouse. The books will be tested for lead levels, and we might get back the books that are considered safe. As for the rest of the books, Half Price Books will try to get reimbursed by the vendors and publishers who sold the books to us.
I've spent the last few weeks fervently trying to rebuild the children's section, but, despite the volume of children's books that are sold to the store, it's been a slow process. I still have empty shelves that used to be full, though the section doesn't look quite so emaciated anymore.
The day that I had to get rid of all those books was one of the roughest days I've ever had at work. The kids section is my pride and joy, my baby, and I had to not only watch it get torn apart- I had to do it myself. It was heartbreaking.
From Jackie (who wrote from her Etsy shop at EasyOnTheEyes)