Poor children can be a tough sell for publishers, particularly as they struggle to pay for the books and other materials they produce.
But for the publishers who do have access to these children, poor books have an advantage.
They offer a window into the lives of children with special needs, often with stories and images that resonate with their emotional state and the struggles they face in life.
“We do not want to create the perfect book,” said Amy Tisdale, publisher of The Good Reader, an online library for children.
The Good Reading program, which began in 2014 and has now reached more than 3 million children, also offers a way for publishers to reach children of all ages and abilities, and in many cases, children with disabilities.
Tisdales’ team works with the nonprofit organization, the Children’s Trust for the Blind, which provides the books, to find the best of the best for children who need them.
Many publishers, including Amazon and Scribd, also have libraries for children with developmental disabilities.
Publishers have a unique opportunity to learn from one another, she said.
“What we do is listen, but we are not like, ‘This is the book I’m going to sell to you,’ ” Tisdeal said.
The library service is free and offers a wide variety of books.
The most popular books in the library are children’s history books, and Tisdaled said many of them are designed to teach children about history, like the history of the United States and other countries.
Tied to the books is a community of readers, who often read together and share ideas and questions.
In some cases, the books have been translated into their native languages.
For example, a children’s science book that was translated into Chinese and released in 2015 was recently translated into English.
Tiddershark, the online platform that provides a library of books, is helping publishers learn how to get books into libraries, as well.
The service lets publishers create a “featured” book listing that includes a description of the book and links to a library or online book club.
Publishers can also search for a library that is near them, such as a community college or a church.
Tiddle says the platform is a great way to learn how publishers can leverage social media to reach audiences.
It also helps publishers connect with other publishers, like Amazon, that want to work with children with learning disabilities.
The platform has seen positive results for publishers like Scribd and Amazon.
Tiddling and Tidderman both have a lot of experience at publishing books with special issues.
“When we were younger, we were just publishing things we wanted to read,” Tiddederman said.
That has changed, and now they are starting to build libraries with books with more special issues, such in psychology, history, politics, technology, technology education and other topics.
In the past, she had to go into a library and look for books.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said of looking for a book.
“But now you can find a lot.”
Publishers can learn more about the resources they have available to them by looking at their online store, Tiddle said.
Publishers that are in libraries often have to pay more than other publishers do.
Some libraries also charge more for children’s books than for books for adults.
The libraries that have access and have good customer service are usually the ones that are looking for books, Tidder said.
In this case, the library was a good match.
“I was able to find something for a child who might have no other book that she could read,” she recalled.
Tiddler and Tiddle both say they are not trying to compete with the online library services, but rather to offer books to children.
“There is a lot more value in being able to talk to the kids about their books and to talk about their challenges, their hopes and their fears,” Tiddler said.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York