We joined the Lamplighter book club in December 2010. The book club allows you to choose a level and get 1-4 books/radio theaters a month of your choosing from their collection of about 130 (currently- they plan to add a few more selections every year). We chose 4 books a month. We have received our second installment and have one book left to read.
Normally, I would hardly EVER pay full price for a book. Admittedly, I’m a cheapskate. My usual place to buy books is my favorite yard sale where I pick them up by the box-full for $0.10 each. Almost all of our books are from yard sales, Amazon for under a dollar (plus shipping), or the bargain section online or at the store. That’s just the way we shop.
Lamplighter is now the exception for us. We’ve listened to the radio theaters on the Family Life Network and thoroughly enjoyed them. Then I realized we owned an original copy (1800s) of The Lamplighter that I of course picked up for $0.10 at that favorite yard sale (John likes to collect old books). It is the book that inspired what Mark Hambey does with his Lamplighter books. We read it (carefully, as it’s a bit fragile due to age) and enjoyed it.
Lamplighter finds rare, old books that provide stories that help build good character for a variety of age ranges. They reprint them in a beautiful hardcover copy and update the language and grammar (only as needed). They also have some radio theaters recorded based on select books from their collection, and add a few more every year. There are a few books/stories Mark Hambey has re-written into children’s books as well.
My logic now is that since we have room in our budget for this, it takes the place of satellite/cable (IF we were ever to have had it, although we didn’t) both in cost and in entertainment value. Plus, it surpasses any TV programming that I know of in quality and in benefits to us intellectually, morally, relationally as a family, and in our spiritual lives. We also look at it in part as supporting a ministry. As another note, It’s incredibly hard (and just as expensive) to find copies of the books in print anywhere since they’re mostly 1800s works (a few early 1900s, some 1700s and earlier, too). (Yes, this cheapskate looked into if the same books could be gotten elsewhere cheaper- I’m almost ashamed to say so.) And for what it’s worth, if you can afford the 4 books a month, it’s the cheapest way to buy them. Give up your cable and you probably can do it that way!
If you live near us and would like to borrow one of our books to check them out, let me know. You can hear some of the radio theaters on FLN radio stations in NY/PA (or through their online stream).
(And no, we’re not getting paid or otherwise compensated to say good things about Lamplighter!)