Publishers' Outlook 2011
According to West Academic's Justin Hummel, the company's digital tools, such as The West Education Network (TWEN) "are changing how people are using [and] accessing content."
BB: Do you anticipate more integrated print/digital offerings in 2011, or will the trend be toward replacing print with digital?
Mathews: We believe there are significant opportunities to integrate digital and print for young readers, as we've shown with "The 39 Clues," "Skeleton Creek" and other series. We have a number of programs in development, including an extension of "The 39 Clues," due to the popularity of these properties. There may be some substitution of print with digital, but ... [we see this as] an opportunity to enhance the reading experience for kids and get more kids reading. For example, fully a third of kids polled in the 2010 Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report said they would read more books if they had access to e-books.
BB: How will the evolving mobile market affect your marketing and distribution efforts?
Mathews: Social media, mobile [and] online are all great marketing tools to acquire new customers and to convert impressions into purchases, in addition to creating more opportunities to read books. A key element of Scholastic's marketing and distribution model has always been to engage parents and teachers as drivers and influencers of kids' book purchases, and we will continue to do this both for digital and print products.
BB: What retail trends do you expect in 2011? How will changes in the retail landscape affect large trade publishers such as yourself?
Mathews: In addition to selling through retail outlets, Scholastic distributes extensively through schools where we conduct 115,000 school-based book fairs each year and where nearly 1 million teachers participate in the Scholastic Book Clubs program. By taking books directly to kids and their families, and by encouraging kids to choose the books they want to read, we keep great books in front of kids and their parents despite changes in the retail landscape.