My contact at Holiday House prefers to stay anonymous but has graciously provided the following responses to my questions:
What is unusual or surprising about nonfiction vs. other types of books?
The thing that still surprises me about nonfiction is that despite many novel and inspiring attempts, booksellers have yet to figure out how to get customers to buy nonfiction for children that does not include some sort of novelty element.
Does nonfiction seem to be viewed differently than other genres by the reading public? If so, in what way?
The Internet has made the reading public view nonfiction differently. Publishers, authors and illustrators of nonfiction, and booksellers now need to explain to consumers that books can offer things that the World Wide Web does not. It’s not just about the information—although that is certainly a crucial part of what nonfiction can provide. We need to figure out how to engage young readers with excellent writing, innovative approaches, critical thinking, and innovative formats.