The Real Toy Story Inside the Ruthless Battle for

The Real Toy Story Inside the Ruthless Battle for America's Youngest Consumers The American toy business is massive world dominating cutthroat exciting and increasingly willing to sacrifice our kids in its frantic rush for profit And yet for all its rapaciousness the industry is in the business of delighting and fascinating our children Toys are one of the most emotive subjects in the world We all remember our own toys; we care desperately about those we choose for our kids knowing these objects help shape children's lives They are also a constantly newsworthy item every Christmas which toys are hot and the scramble by parents to grab them before the stores are empty is front page and TV bulletin news The Real Toy Story tells the tales of these toys and of the vast world dominating 22 billion American industry that creates them The rewards for success are enormous a top toy can earn billions H Ty Warner shot into Forbes's World's Richest People list with his creation of Beanie Babies The price of failure is just as huge the battlefield is littered with the corpses of once successful toy companies whose multimillion dollar gambles did not pay offIt is a world of contrasts The Real Toy Story looks at both sides at Slinky Elmo Barbie Transformers and their creators but also at the dark side of an industry that leads the way in cold blooded marketing targeted at children Parents will want to learn about how this seemingly benign industry exploits sometimes surreptitiously the many new media cable television the internet CD ROMs sometimes even invading the playgrounds to peddle their wares to unsuspecting young peoplePerhaps disturbingly this hard hitting book examines the vast gap between the cuddly image of toys and how almost all toys destined for America are actually produced in China under sweatshop conditionsToday the toy industry is in the midst of rapid change Tapping into the concern millions of adults have about the toys they choose for the children in their lives this riveting exposé is essential reading for everyone who cares about kids Part history primer part exposé The Real Toy Story is a literary roller coaster ride Author Eric Clark a former investigative journalist in the UK offers up a robust hard hitting look at the toy industry circa 2007 While some of his anecdotes are a dated now that changes that have occurred since the book was published Clark’s overarching descriptions of advertising tactics labour practices retail realities and product development lifecycles remain relevant todayEach stand alone chapter focuses on a key aspect of the toy industry As each chapter’s narrative unfolds Clark effectively illustrates an underlying dichotomy the fun play oriented child focused wonderment of toy products versus the cut throat competitive litigious and bottom line focused industry that produces them Many of the chapters uite fittingly use war analogies as part of their titlesBarbie Goes to War Battle of the Dolls recounts the development and rise to dominance of the doll brand for Mattel amidst an onslaught of competition such as the line of Bratz dolls from at the time up and comer MGA Entertainment War of the Aisles The Retail Battleground highlights the power and influence that big box retail stores like Wal Mart have on the toy industry as well as the price cutting tactics used to drive out the competition The book’s final chapter Santa’s Sweatshop presents a bleak look into the deplorable labour conditions in China’s Pearl River Delta the epicenter of outsourced toy productionThe book is not all doom and gloom however Along with these hard hitting anecdotes the author also weaves in positive vibes too including the success stories of solo toy inventors an independent toy store that has persevered and flourished among the big boxes a profile of a nostalgic industry veteran and other storiesThe Real Toy Story was three years in the making and draws upon than 200 interviews for content For anyone interested in a well researched book on what goes on behind the scenes to stock the shelves at your favorite toy store it is worth checking out A very fascinating look into a market I had not really thought about in a while Yes I have considered buying a few nostalgic items with my big boy money but I had not ever considered the inner workings of what is a deeply ruthless market I very much enjoyed the book but the truth it presents is really a damper on my rating of it Honestly I would want a seuelupdated version of this considering Toys R Us is circling the drain Though the information was troublesome or maybe because of that very fact this is an interesting and important read for anyone who purchases toys with any regularity Fascinating and at times somewhat frightening A decent book on the American toy industry and the marketing machine that drives it Contains a monstrously depressing chapter on the overseas sweatshops which produce a large amount of America's playthings The Real Toy Story tells the history of the toy industry along with the retail giants which have changed it over the years From Toys R Us to Wal Mart this chronicles the rise fall and subseuent revival of the toy industry It is in parts incredibly depressing to learn how money on research and development has been cut while companies try to repackage and reinvent tried and true games and toys A game like Monopoly for example would never get past the front door of a toy manufacturer today which may explain why the big companies are essentially putting out the same toys year after yearBut it wasn't all bad news smaller toy stores are getting their second wind and some big names have helped along the way When Beanie Babies were introduced the owner refused to sell to large chains and would only distribute them through small independent shops Things like that give me hope for the human race Reading it also inspired me to poke around looking for smaller outfits here in town and online and I've found plenty of independent outlets still thrivingThe Real Toy Story is a great read for anyone who is interested in toys business or even simply the human condition I'll never look t a Weeble uite the same way This was pretty good in the style of Fast Food Nation but not uite as well written and not uite as hard hitting But still very well worth the read It exposes the complicated and deplorable relationships between American toy companies and marketers and Chinese manufacturers This book was fascinating as it sucked all the joy and wonder out of toys Big Business is an ugly thing One of the many bits of trivia that I think I'll always remember from this book is that Yahtzee was invented on a yacht Who knew? WellI didn't until I read this book The writing and research are good and the book is not uninteresting; but I stopped reading because the workings of the toy industry didn't seem novel enough to spend so much time on The fact that the toy industry is gasp driven by lust for profits of all things just didn't seem like news to me So toy execs fear disappointing shareholders than not serving the optimal intellectual development of little minds not so shocking And the toy business isn't the only one that relies on generic marketing and research on what sells than on the true toy guys' love of their uniue and noble products Granted this has shock value when reading about the toy industry because it's uncomfortable to think of vulnerable little kids being manipulated for profits But still it doesn't seem like NEWS to me; it's an old story in the food industry too The fun in this book is learning the stories behind iconic toys such as Lincoln Logs Silly Putty Slinky and Tickle Me Elmo It's worth skimming through the book to read the toy trivia Fascinating insight to the toy industry if not a bit unsettling As a parent I have a vested interest in my kids' toys and this book did give me pause regarding the psychological manipulation of children Good food for thought

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