Book fairs are a favorite event for most every student.
The ability to browse many shelves full of reading material, both entertaining and educational, priced reasonably can spark an early love of reading in children, and it’s a possibility due almost exclusively to Scholastic.
A multifaceted company whose commitment to education and books knows no bounds, Scholastic is a highly recognizable brand with far reaching impact, but it’s not clear just how long that impact will last.
A Greater Purpose
In the simplest of terms, Scholastic is a publishing company whose repertoire of books is geared specifically toward students, teachers, and parents as educational tools. However, the company’s aim goes beyond simply providing tools.
Scholastic hopes to inspire students with their materials by cultivating a sense of responsibility, appreciation for art, cultural understanding, and willingness to accept others. Basically, Scholastic lives and breathes the ethos that the pen is mightier than the sword.
From Magazine to Magnate
Scholastic wasn’t always the educational giant that it is today. In fact, the founder at first knew that he wanted to be a publisher, but the capacity in which that would happen wasn’t always clear.
In 1920, Maurice Robinson graduated from Dartmouth and wasted no time forging his own path in the world. He almost immediately began publishing a four-page paper called The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic, which quickly became a favorite tool for teachers.
Having created a relationship with educators by creating his paper for many years, Robinson was able to transition into a publisher of all sorts of educational materials. Eventually, Robinson handed the company over to his son, and it has only continued to grow in the nearly-100 years since it was founded.
There are plenty of publishing companies in the world, but few have managed to find a niche quite so well as scholastic. Perhaps the closest competitor could be found in Pearson, who also publishes extensive educational works, but their repertoire doesn’t touch Scholastic’s.
Notably, scholastic currently owns the publishing rights to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games in the United States—a testament to how fully influential the company is. Plus, Scholastic managed to create a wholly unique method for achieving visibility: hosting events.
Most every American student can remember attending Scholastic book fairs each year. This ingenious marketing move gives students the opportunity to purchase books from Scholastic directly, while getting excited by the ceremony of it all.
Still, these same events have landed Scholastic in some hot water historically. Because many book purchases are accompanied by small toys, posters, or stickers, some groups feel that Scholastic is cheapening the educational aspect of their books.
Given that Scholastic has been steadily falling on the Fortune 500 since the early 2000s, this could be viewed as a desperate attempt to keep kids interested in their materials.
In any case, there’s no denying Scholastic’s reach and influence; it remains to be seen whether they’re currently experiencing a short ebb in their success, or if this historically profitable company is finally losing steam.