Books Inc. Video Uncovers What Makes Pandas Sad

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The importance of shopping at independent retailers is a message that Books Inc. has taken to the Internet in a new video that asks the question “What Makes Pandas Sad?

Illustrating the “sexiness of ecosystems” in the realm of buying local, the video highlights through hand-drawn cartoons and text the lifecycle of a book, from the author to the publishing house to the bookstore to the reader, and, ultimately, what part of that process makes pandas sad.

“The inspiration for the video was the desire to have a shorthand, funny response to the conversation we have, basically daily, with customers, friends, family, and people on the street,” said Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc.’s children’s department director for marketing and events.

Tokuda-Hall wrote the script, created the illustrations, and developed the text with the help of Books Inc. co-owner and vice president Margie Scott Tucker. “She also talked me out of changing the panda into an elephant, even though I can draw elephants better,” joked Tokuda-Hall.

The final version of the video was recorded in one take, then sped up through a time lapse app that Tokuda-Hall learned about during Austin Kleon’s “Engaging Your Audience Through Social Media” panel at the ABC Children’s Institute in April.

Between writing the text, drawing the images, and battling with technology, many takes were scrapped, said Tokuda-Hall. After nearly 15 tries and just as many hours, the video was completed and overlaid with music written and performed by Len Vlahos, author of Kids’ Indie Next List pick The Scar Boys (Egmont USA) and executive director of the Book Industry Study Group.

In the final product, which Books Inc. shared widely on its website and via social media, viewers are reminded, “Telling a bookseller you’re totally going to buy their recommendation online is kind of like telling a panda you love his coat so much you made his mom into one. If that makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. Don’t make pandas sad.”

Watch the video below or on YouTube