Doctor Who And The Curse Of Illiteracy

I’m not going to do a Who story every day. Honest. But this story is just too cool to ignore. What happens when you find a stack of 11,000 Target Doctor Who novels for sale online? If you’re a group of wonderfully-mad online Who fans, you buy them all to give away to schools.
Target didn’t publish 11,000 different Doctor Who books — although, as a young reader, my head would have happily exploded if they did — but instead, they published many, many copies of the 156 books they did produce (although, at least for Australian fans, probably not enough copies of Mindwarp). Not all those copies sold, and that’s where the stash of 11,000 books came from. A factory set of just 36 of the novels, or around 300 of each individual novel. A UK-based group (with international links) swooped in and purchased the set, not so they could have the largest collection of titles ever, but for a more simple and beautiful reason.
To give them away to UK schoolkids to encourage literacy and love of Who. Quoting from the official blog, which will cover the run of the project from purchasing to distribution of the final book:

“With the TV series experiencing a rebirth in recent years and having the same effect on this current generation of children, we have heard from some school teachers how these books are still incredibly popular on classroom bookshelves, especially amongst those reluctant male readers.  So when over 11,000 of these vintage books were discovered, still shrink wrapped in the publisher’s original packaging and placed as a bulk sale item on eBay, we knew what we wanted to do – purchase the books and donate them in small batches free to schools around the country.  They sit perfectly in both Upper Junior School classroom shelves and Senior School libraries.  For us it is our way of celebrating the show’s 50th Anniversary.  As the classic and new series come together this year, we as the childhood fans of yesteryear want to share with the current and next generation of fans the books that inspired and encouraged us to read.  We hope they will sit in school libraries for many years to come, constantly being discovered and enjoyed by children.”

What a massively brilliant idea. The books themselves are destined for UK school shelves, but the authors note that they’d love it if other fans donated books to their local schools. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to my bookshelves to hunt out any doubles I have of the Target novelisations…
Source: Target Who
Image: TargetWho

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