Book Business EXTRA! Q&A -- World Books’ Paul Kobasa talks about the changing landscape of encyclopedias
Paul Kobasa, World Book vice president, editorial and editor in chief, chats with Book Business EXTRA! about World Book Kids, the new interactive Web-based tool aimed at younger students and their educators that the company recently released.
Book Business EXTRA! -- With the vast array of information available online, what has kept a reference publisher, such as World Book, relevant to computer-savvy children and young adults in recent years?
Paul Kobasa -- There is a massive amount of content on the Web--so much so that it can be difficult for students to find the discrete information they need. That’s a leading reason why students continue to turn to World Book--in both its online and print forms--for accurate, authoritative and timely information that is easy to find and apply to their needs.
EXTRA! -- What led World Book to develop a site like World Book Kids that was specifically geared toward younger readers?
Kobasa --The Internet experience is not always a rewarding one for children – particularly young children and children who become discouraged by information overload. They are capable of getting online and conducting searches. But often these searches result in a huge number of hits, many of which simply aren’t relevant, are inappropriate for the younger user, or are outdated and otherwise inaccurate. We want to provide young readers with a positive search experience by creating for them an easily navigable environment and content tailored to their comprehension levels and learning modes. We started with our award-winning 13-volume Student Discovery Encyclopedia. But rather than merely producing an online version of it, we worked to make the content come alive by exploiting the capabilities of the online environment.
EXTRA! --What’s the target audience for World Book Kids, and how much of that audience is coming primarily to the electronic form of World Book as opposed to the print version? What’s the trend in sales of digital vs. print encyclopedias these days?