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McDonald's Is Giving Away Books With Happy Meals Again

The burger chain wants you to read something other than their nutrition labels.

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McDonald's wants to make Happy Meals less happy for kids once again. According to the Los Angeles Times, the chain/producer of controversial ads is replacing all plastic Happy Meal toys with "books and an activity." While some might call the move "the worst thing" ever, there's no need to worry. Kids will only have to suffer through literacy until January 22.

McDonald's teamed up with publisher Harper Collins and nonprofit organization Reading is Fundamental for the book giveaway. Kids will receive one out of four possible books including classics like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." WNDU notes that while most books will be in English, some locations will offer a Spanish version too. A spokesperson for the company gave the LAT a PR-speak addled explanation as to why the company was doing this: The project is "part of a broader book strategy to combine the fun of the Happy Meal and support of our partners to inspire more family reading time."

The sheer number of books — 17 million in total — that the chain plans to distribute during the giveaway is impressive. So impressive that it may temporarily make McDonald's one of the largest book sellers in the U.S. When the chain decided to give away nutritional books instead of toys for a few weeks in 2013, they briefly became the biggest publisher in the country. Plus, when McDonald's pulled a similar stunt in the UK in 2012, it became the largest bookseller in all of England.

If its current "brand transformation" doesn't work out, perhaps McDonald's should look into pivoting into the publishing business.

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