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» Book Review: The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook

Book Review: The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook

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An older book, but invaluable nonetheless! Written by two industry insiders, The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook is a step-by-step guide through toy design and game licensing. In this nonfiction work, the authors provide background on the toy industry, discuss blockbuster toys, look at how to get started in the toy industry, review legalities of toy design, and list opportunities for toy inventors. Sidebars and callouts are used to highlight pertinent information and advice from the professionals. The appendix contains profiles of toy inventors, as well as, lists of companies seeking toy ideas and a glossary to toy terminology.

The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, License, and Cash-In on Your Ideas. by Richard C. Levy and Ronald O. Weingartner, Alpha, 2003, 492 pp. ISBN 159257062-3, $19.95

Summary

In this beginners guide to the toy industry, The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook provides rich context of the market, the competition and advice for pitching a toy idea. Similar to submitting a manuscript to a publisher, toy inventors must “pitch” their ideas. Through a combined 60 years of experience, Levy and Weingartner outline the information a toy inventor needs to know in order to be successful in the field.

The book begins with a history of toys, highlights a few blockbuster toys and outlines how to turn toy ideas into reality. From there, the authors cover the legalities of toy invention, how to sell a toy idea and what to look for in a toy contract. Subsequent chapters cover licensing and video games.

An interesting fact about the toy industry is that most products are not created by just one person. Many times teams of inventors collaborate in creating a toy. Additionally, companies like Hasbro outsource much of their toy design to outside inventors. Of course, becoming one of those outside toy inventors is just as difficult as breaking into any highly competitive industry.

Reactions

I am drawn to inventing and dream of creating a toy. Right now, I have my sights set on creating an educational toy. I bought this book many years ago and refer back to it frequently. About three years ago, I had an idea for a toy and pulled the book off the bookshelf to help bring the idea to reality. What I realized was the book is an amazing resource in navigating the toy industry. The information is helpful and it provides the basic data one must know when entering the field. As I continued working on my idea, the complexities of inventing a toy became apparent. My experience in navigating the toy design process helped me understand why products are not created by just one person. The specialized knowledge, industry relationships and funding criteria drive the need for collaboration. As it turns out, in the time I spent searching for ways and means to bring my idea to market, someone else had brought the product to market. At the end of the day, I was satisfied knowing I really did have a great idea. Nowadays, I continue to search for ways to contribute my toy ideas in a meaningful way. All and all, The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook is a great resource.

Conclusion

This handbook offers readers an inside look at the toy industry by professionals who have worked in many of the most well-known toy companies. It covers the basic information a new toy inventor would need to know in order to pitch a toy idea. The book can be read cover to cover or used as a reference guide. Overall, the chapters are well organized, informative and insightful. Sidebars and callouts help to clarify and distill the essence of key points.

References

Levy, R. C. and Weingartner, R. O. (2003). The toy and game inventor’s handbook: Everything you need to know to pitch, license, and cash-in on your ideas. New York: Alpha.

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