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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cheap Books

My kids love to read and I love to buy books for them. However, sometimes they also love to tear up their books! So instead of buying them expensive books, sometimes I buy them very cheap children's books by local publishers. I'd rather they accidentally tear up a book costing RM1.50 then one costing RM10.

Now, I love to support local and I don't like to discriminate. I often buy local magazines for myself as well because I think they're much more value for money than their foreign counterparts. However in the case of children's books its really very difficult to praise local when they are obviously not up to par. The standard of English is so poor and the books look like they have not even gone through very simple proof reading to eliminate errors. Very often there are missing words, spelling mistakes and gramatical errors. Its really appalling that such obviously poor quality childrens' books are going to print.

Here is an example taken from one of the books:

  • How many animal were drinking water?
  • How did the tiger died?

Can you spot the obvious mistakes? If you can't, you've probably been reading too many of these error riddled books too. Lol!

I think its totally irresponsible of the publishers to make money from the sale of such obviously poorly produced books! However at the point of writing, I'm still "supporting" these publishers by buying the cheap books and making the corrections myself. What to do? The children outgrow their little books as fast as their little shoes and clothes.

For clothes at least I have the option of buying a few good quality ones and make them wear them over and over again rather than buying dozens of cheap ones so they can wear different outfits each time. For shoes a medium range would be better because although they outgrow them very fast, we must make sure they are of a reasonable quality to support their growing feet.

For toys we also make sure they must be of a reasonable quality for safety reasons. However for books, I want to expose them to as many stories and reading materials as possible so I can't buy a few and make them read the same over and over again. So how? Tell me, should I continue to "support" these poor quality books? What do you do? What sort of books, toys and clothing do you buy for your children?


  1. This post reminds me of how my mum forced me to read the whole collection of "Peter And Jane".

    Well, my mum (primary school teacher) won't buy the book if the book itself has lots of errors in it. She would rather spend more instead of getting cheaper ones. As for tearing the book, she caned. As simple as that.

    Maybe you can read Lord Of The Rings to your boy and girl. LOL.

  2. We not allow the girls to tear book, if they did it, sure kena smack or beat by us, no excuse for them to tear! Had trained them since young. So far, all of their book are in good condition!

    I am lucky as my SIL (primary school teacher too)has good source of good local quality book, she will get me some if she find the books are good! But I'll still buy them those hard cover book.

  3. For me, I would rather spend a bit more to get a good quality books, clothes and toys. For books, if it is full of mistakes, kids might not be able to notice it and take it as correct. Then, when they are older, its difficult to correct them. But I do buy cheap books for them such as second-hand books which are still in good condition.

    As for clothes and toys, its a mix between cheap and moderately expensive (of course during sales).

  4. but imported books like "LadyBird" very expensive ler... they should reduce the price a bit ler :(

  5. Well, where I am, I can get good cheap local (previously American, Canadian and now UK) books. Hence, that has never been a problem.

    As for kids' clothes, I would not buy branded, unless there's a crazy sale. Afterall, kids outgrow their clothes so quickly. But I do go for reasonably-priced quality clothing, because I stick clothes into the washer and dryer. The kids also subject them to high wear and tear. Same for toys - if it's not of good quality, it can be a danger to the younger kids.

  6. jason,
    Thats why you articulate yourself so well in your blog now that you're grown. Thanks to your mum loh. :) I'm also making my girl read the Peter and Jane books but she seems to enjoy reading them and I don't force her to read.

    I also smack and scold them when they tear their books but sometimes they still do it behind my back.

    I do the corrections before I let them read. So cheapskate eh? Lol.

    Yup! I wish that too. Can't afford to always buy expensive stuff for the kids. Furthermore we're living on one income.

    Yes, I agree with you about the toys. Safety comes first. I guess I'm fortunate in being the youngest sister and sister in law at home. I get loads of hand-me-down clothings and good quality books. :)

  7. Books, Jeriel is not allowed to tear books. He has lots of books from his grandmother who is a kindy teacher and also inherit some of my Enid Blyton's books...pretty old though...

    Clothes...hmm usually Hytex Warehouse in Sri Damansara which is as low as RM1 per piece and some from Reject Shop. Reject Shop sometimes has good and cheap stuffs, not always...

    Toys...his toys are from warehouse sales...

  8. channel,
    Ah yes Reject shop. Sometimes I go and dig dig dig in the boxes at Factory Outlet Store and if I'm lucky I find some nice cheap branded outfits there.

  9. I hope you are not spotting any grammar errors on my blog. From the way you blog, I know you like to read.

  10. Most of Damien's books are Disney or LadyBird series..i simply love their books! :)

    Clothes wise, I buy from Giordano kids or Fox kids. Once in a blue blue moon, i will buy a shirt or bottom from branded store..hehe.

    As for his toys, most of them are passed down from his Nicholas gor gor. His grandpa bought quite a fair bit for him as well, we are the ones who seldome buy any toys for him..;p

  11. Hmm.. I never really support local children publication except if they are just photobooks with words, e.g. Cat, Dog, Fish.. I find the quality and the printing sometimes can be quite bad.

    I buy books during sales and from 2nd hand book shop, and I teach Zara to take care of her books. So far, she only tore her books on purpose once or twice, which made me give her a lecture.

    She loves her books, and do take care of them.

  12. Gee, now I have to do a double take when buying local published books. Lucky me, my folks still kept my old collection of Ladybird. On my next trip home, I better keep a luggage bag empty just for my libary, oops, i meant my book collection.

  13. Try buying 2nd hand books instead. I bought a whole collection of Beatrix Potter's books for a ringgit a piece. And you won't believe all the 'jewels in the rough' that I had discovered in 2nd hand bookstores.

    As an avid reader myself, I've discovered an RM4 book is just as good as an RM40 book. It's not about the price tag...it's the content that really matters.

    The best part about buying 2nd hand books are; u still get tax deduction! LOL

  14. michelle,
    I often write bahasa pasar and sms language in my blog post as well. How anyone writes in their blogs is their business but I think children's books should not contain errors since they are at the learning stage.

    No fun not being able to buy toys isn't it? For a time I had so many hand-me-down clothes, I couldn't buy any and that spoilt the fun for me. Haha.

    zara's mama,
    Its good that she loves her books and knows how to take care of them.

    Yes, you better have a trunk for your books!

    sarah's mummy,
    Any good 2nd hand book shops to recommend?

  15. I bought lots of English and Chinese books, but only Chinese books are local. I think it's not easy to find local English books without mistake, so better stick to Ladybird series. They're expensive, so I thought my boy how to be careful with them.
    But he did tear of one book purposely, and keeps tearing that one only, but not the others. Funny huh?

  16. shoppingmum,
    Haha. Very funny indeed but good for you.

  17. Books - I am a sucker. I still could not believe that I spent almost RM2K on a series of books + encyclopedia. Just hope that when the boys are a little older, they will appreciate it. I could have used the money to buy more books and buy the books as the boy grows instead of buying something that they can only read maybe when they are 5 yrs old.

    Clothes - we save a lot. All are hand me downs from their cousin.

    Toys - somehow there is a toy fairy that drops off toys occasionally. So we do not need to spend much on toys either.

  18. wmd,
    Can introduce your toy fairy ah. Lol!

  19. I guess we are lucky. We get our books from the yard/garage sales (but only during the warmer months) and they are usually very good books (like Dr Seuss, Eric Carls, Scholastic etc). We have never paid more than $2 for a book. :)

    As for clothing, we only buy a few nice ones (for going out) from clearance sales and mostly are either from yard sales/hand me down clothings for daily wear.

    As for toys, the ones we have are mostly from her grandparents or our friends. We seldom buy for her from retail shops. But if we find something nice from yard sales, then we will get.

  20. I agree that we shouldn't spend too much on books. What I do is I buy second books from Pay Less Book Stores. I bought lots of books there, and they are still in good condition. For example, I bought a Sandra Boynton board book for about RM5, which cost between RM30 - RM40 in MPH.

    Or cheapest option is to read online stories :), so far the stories I like best, or rather my daughter, are from PBS kids.

  21. Forgot to mention that so far I 've only found Pay Less book stores in KL and Selangor. The branch in Ampang Point really has a wide collection for kids. There's also a branch in Carrefour, Subang Jaya.

  22. crazymommy,
    You are lucky! Too bad we don't have yard sales here.

    working mom,
    Thank you for sharing. Now my turn to share. :) I have posted the links or url to educational sites for children including many wonderful online storybook sites on my other blog. If you are interested in the links, go to

    Online Educational Sites for Young Children

    Our favourite is BBC Storycircle, Storyplace Library (Organised in Themes. You can choose Preschool or Elementary depending on your child's age) and Starfall (also organised into different levels for reading practise using phonics)

    Hehe. Come to think of it, so many sites. No need to buy anymore books but books are still nice for bedtimes. You can't take an online story to bed unless you have a laptop. Lol!


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