The Lowest Denominator

I think the publishing industry has hit a new low.  I have just received the ALA’s newsletter for the recent convention in Anaheim and stumbled across a full page ad for a new series called the Doppleganger Chronicles.  Here’s the blurb:

“this new series combines art and text to create illustra-novellas–a new kind of book designed to enhance the reading experience for a visually oriented generation of kids, especially reluctant readers.”

First of all…an illustra-novella?  how can this not be a joke?  Why do illustrations require a claim to a new format?  Or is this book really a graphic novel but the publisher thought that term sounded too overused (which it is of course in all fairness).

Anyway, my real point here is the apparently new market of books for people who don’t like to read.  This is not the first series pitched this way, the Bluford High books have apparently met with some success by tapping into that market.  But I still have trouble picturing this one.  I can’t help but think of Monty Python’s Silly Olympics sketch (it’s in one of the German episodes) where there’s a 100 meter breaststroke for non-swimmers event (the punch line coming when the corpses are fished out of the pool).

I know I’m being a bit overly cynical here, and I do admire what these books are trying to do.  I’m all for anything that can get more people to read.  I’m just not sure that this is the way to go about it.  Has anyone had any experience with these materials?  I would love to have my suspiciones disproved in this instance.

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